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The Ten Perfections

In the early centuries after the Buddha’s passing away, as Buddhism became a
popular religion, the idea was formalized that there were three paths to
awakening to choose from: the path to awakening as a disciple of a Buddha
(s›vaka); the path to awakening as a private Buddha (pacceka-buddha), i.e., one
who attained awakening on his own but was not able to teach the path of
practice to others; and the path to awakening as a Rightly Self-awakened Buddha
(samm› sambuddha). Each path was defined as consisting of perfections (p›ramı)
of character, but there was a question as to what those perfections were and how
the paths differed from one another. The Therav›dins, for instance, specified ten
perfections, and organized their J›taka collection so that it culminated in ten
tales, each illustrating one of the perfections. The Sarv›stiv›dins, on the other
hand, specified six perfections, and organized their J›taka collection accordingly.
All Buddhists agreed that the third path took by far the longest to follow, but
disagreements arose as to whether the perfections developed along the different
paths were quantitatively or qualitatively different. In other words, did a Buddha
develop more of the same sort of perfections that an arahant developed, or did
he develop perfections of a radically different sort? Those who believed that the
perfections differed only quantitatively were able to take the early Buddhist
canons as their guide to the path to Buddhahood, for they could simply
extrapolate from the path of the arahant as described in those canons. Those
seeking Buddhahood who believed that the perfections differed qualitatively,
however, had to look outside the canons. People in this latter group often
practiced a form of meditation aimed at inducing visions of bodhisattvas
treading the path to full Buddhahood, along with Buddhas in other world-
systems. These Buddhas and bodhisattvas—it was hoped—would provide an
insider’s knowledge of the full Buddha’s path. The teachings that resulted from
these visions were very diverse; not until the 3rd century C.E., with the
development of the Yog›c›ra school, was a concerted effort made to collate
these various teachings into a single body—what we now know as the
Mah›y›na movement—but the differences among these teachings were so great
that the Mah›y›na never achieved true unity.
Thus, historically, there have been two major ways of following the path to
full Buddhahood: following guidelines gleaned from the early canons, and
following the traditions set in motion by the experiences of visionaries from the
beginning of the common era. The materials in this study guide take the first
course.
There’s a common misunderstanding that the Therav›da school teaches only
the s›vaka path, but a glance at Therav›da history will show that many
Therav›dins have vowed to become bodhisattvas and have undertaken the
practice of the ten perfections as set forth in the Therav›din J›takas. Because
these perfections differ only quantitatively for arahants, Therav›dins who aspire
to arahantship cite the perfections as qualities that they are developing as part of
their practice outside of formal meditation. For example, they make donations to
develop the perfection of generosity, undertake building projects to develop the
perfection of endurance, and so forth.
For people in the modern world who are wrestling with the issue of how to
practice the Dhamma in daily life, the perfections provide a useful framework for
developing a fruitful attitude toward daily activities so that any activity or
relationship undertaken wisely with the primary purpose of developing the
perfections in a balanced way becomes part of the practice.
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The perfections also provide one of the few reliable ways of measuring the
accomplishments of one’s life. “Accomplishments” in the realm of work and
relationships have a way of turning into dust, but perfections of the character,
once developed, are dependable and lasting, carrying one over and beyond the
vicissitudes of daily living. Thus they deserve to take high priority in the way we
plan our lives. These two facts are reflected in the two etymologies offered for
the word perfection (p›ramı): They carry one across to the further shore (paraª);
and they are of foremost (parama) importance in formulating the purpose of
one’s life.
The material in this study guide is organized under the heading of the eighth
perfection—determination—for several reasons. The first reason is that
determination is needed for undertaking the path of perfections to begin with, in
that it gives focus, motivation, and direction to the practice. The second reason is
that the four aspects of skilled determination—discernment, truth,
relinquishment, and calm—when studied carefully, cover all ten of the
perfections: generosity, virtue, renunciation, discernment, persistence,
endurance, truth, determination, good will, and equanimity. In this way, the
material gathered here illustrates the general principle that each of the
perfections, when properly practiced, includes all ten. The third reason is that the
four aspects of skilled determination help guard against a common problem in
using the perfections as a guide to practice: a tendency to indulge in the self-
delusion that can justify any activity, no matter how inappropriate, as part of the
path.
Passages in this guide are drawn from the Pali Canon and from the teachings
of Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo.

The four determinations:


One should not be negligent of discernment,
should guard the truth,
be devoted to relinquishment,
and train only for calm. — MN 140

I. Discernment
Good will
II. Truth
Persistence
Virtue
III. Relinquishment
Generosity
Renunciation
IV. Calm
Endurance
Equanimity

I . DI SC ER NMENT
§ 1. Three types of discernment:
understanding that comes from listening (sutamaya-paññ›)
understanding that comes from thinking (cint›maya-paññ›)
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understanding that comes from developing/meditation


(bh›van›maya-paññ›) — DN 33

§ 2. A fool with a sense of his foolishness


is—at least to that extent—wise.
But a fool who thinks himself wise
really deserves to be called
a fool. — Dhp 63

§ 3. “Monks, these two are fools. Which two? The one who doesn’t see his
transgression as a transgression, and the one who doesn’t rightfully pardon
another who has confessed his transgression. These two are fools.
“These two are wise people. Which two? The one who sees his transgression as a
transgression, and the one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his
transgression. These two are wise people.” — AN 2:21

§ 4. “Monks, these two are fools. Which two? The one who takes up a burden
that hasn’t fallen to him, and the one who doesn’t take up a burden that has.
These two are fools.” — AN 2:92

§ 5. “This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a contemplative or


brahman, to ask: ‘What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is
blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not
be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm &
suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare &
happiness?’” — MN 135

§ 6. “As for the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done,
leads to what is profitable, it is in light of this course of action that one may be
known—in terms of manly stamina, manly persistence, manly effort—as a fool or
a wise person. For a fool doesn’t reflect, ‘Even though this course of action is
unpleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is profitable.’ So he doesn’t
do it, and thus the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is
unprofitable for him. But a wise person reflects, ‘Even though this course of
action is unpleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is profitable.’ So
he does it, and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable
for him.
“As for the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads
to what is unprofitable, it is in light of this course of action that one may be
known—in terms of manly stamina, manly persistence, manly effort—as a fool or
a wise person. For a fool doesn’t reflect, ‘Even though this course of action is
pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.’ So he does it,
and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is unprofitable for him.
But a wise person reflects, ‘Even though this course of action is pleasant to do,
still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.’ So he doesn’t do it, and thus
the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable for him.” — AN
4:115
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§ 7. “And what is right view? Knowledge in terms of stress, knowledge in terms


of the origination of stress, knowledge in terms of the cessation of stress,
knowledge in terms of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This
is called right view.
“And what is right resolve? Resolve aimed at renunciation, at freedom from
ill will, at harmlessness: This is called right resolve.” — SN 45:8

§ 8. “And what is the right view that has fermentations, sides with merit, &
results in acquisitions? ‘There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed.
There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next
world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there
are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly,
proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for
themselves.’ This is the right view that has fermentations, sides with merit, &
results in acquisitions.
“And what is the right view that is without fermentations, transcendent, a
factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of
discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, the path factor of
right view in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is
free from fermentations, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the
right view that is without fermentations, transcendent, a factor of the path.
“One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one’s
right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right
view: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities—right view,
right effort, & right mindfulness—run & circle around right view.
“[2] Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the
forerunner? One discerns wrong resolve as wrong resolve, and right resolve as
right resolve. And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill
will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve.
“And what is right resolve? Right resolve, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is
right resolve with fermentations, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions
[of becoming]; and there is noble right resolve, without fermentations,
transcendent, a factor of the path.
“And what is the right resolve that has fermentations, sides with merit, &
results in acquisitions? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will,
on harmlessness. This is the right resolve that has fermentations, sides with
merit, & results in acquisitions.
“And what is the right resolve that is without fermentations, transcendent, a
factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, mental absorption,
mental fixity, focused awareness, & verbal fabrications in one developing the
noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without fermentations, who is
fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without
fermentations, transcendent, a factor of the path.
“One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is
one’s right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain
in right resolve: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities—right
view, right effort, & right mindfulness—run & circle around right resolve.” —
MN 117
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§ 9. “And what is the faculty of discernment? There is the case where a monk, a
disciple of the noble ones, is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising &
passing away—noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. He
discerns, as it has come to be: ‘This is stress...This is the origination of stress...This
is the cessation of stress...This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of
stress.’” — SN 48:10

§ 10. “There are mental qualities that are skillful & unskillful, blameworthy &
blameless, gross & refined, siding with darkness & with light. To foster
appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen analysis
of qualities as a factor for awakening, or for the growth & increase of analysis of
qualities ... once it has arisen.” — SN 46:51

§ 11. What does discernment come from? You might compare it with learning to
become a potter, a tailor, or a basket weaver. The teacher will start out by telling
you how to make a pot, sew a shirt or a pair of pants, or weave different patterns,
but the proportions and beauty of the object you make will have to depend on
your own powers of observation. Suppose you weave a basket and then take a
good look at its proportions, to see if it’s too short or too tall. If it’s too short,
weave another one, a little taller, and then take a good look at it to see if there’s
anything that still needs improving, to see if it’s too thin or too fat. Then weave
another one, better-looking than the last. Keep this up until you have one that’s
as beautiful and well-proportioned as possible, one with nothing to criticize from
any angle. This last basket you can take as your standard. You can now set
yourself up in business.
What you’ve done is to learn from your own actions. As for your previous
efforts, you needn’t concern yourself with them any longer. Throw them out. This
is a sense of discernment that arises of its own accord, an ingenuity and sense of
judgment that come not from anything your teachers have taught you, but from
observing and evaluating on your own the object that you yourself have made.
The same holds true in practicing meditation. For discernment to arise, you
have to be observant as you keep track of the breath and to gain a sense of how
to adjust and improve it so that it’s well-proportioned throughout the body—to
the point where it flows evenly without faltering, so that it’ s comfortable in slow
and out slow, in fast and out fast, long, short, heavy, or refined. Get so that both
the in-breath and the out-breath are comfortable no matter what way you
breathe, so that—no matter when—you immediately feel a sense of ease the
moment you focus on the breath. When you can do this, physical results will
appear: a sense of ease and lightness, open and spacious. The body will be
strong, the breath and blood will flow unobstructed and won’t form an opening
for disease to step in. The body will be healthy and awake.
As for the mind, when mindfulness and alertness are the causes, a still mind is
the result. When negligence is the cause, a mind distracted and restless is the
result. So we must try to make the causes good, in order to give rise to the good
results we’ve referred to. If we use our powers of observation and evaluation in
caring for the breath, and are constantly correcting and improving it, we’ll
develop awareness on our own, the fruit of having developed our concentration
higher step by step.
—Ajaan Lee (Inner Strength)
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§ 12. Discernment comes from observing causes and effects. If we know effects
without knowing causes, that doesn’t qualify as discernment. If we know causes
without knowing effects, that doesn’t qualify, either. We have to know both of
them together with our mindfulness and alertness. This is what qualifies as all-
around knowing in the full sense of the term.
The all-around knowing that arises within us comes from causes and effects,
not from what we read in books, hear other people tell us, or conjecture on our
own. Suppose we have some silver coins in our pocket. If all we know is that
other people say it’s money, we don’t know its qualities. But if we experiment
with it and put it in a smelter to see what it’s made of and to see how it can be
made into other things, that’s when we’ll know its true qualities. This is the kind
of knowledge that comes from our own actions. This knowledge, when we
meditate, comes in five forms. We find within ourselves that some things are
caused by the properties of the body, some are caused by the mind, some causes
come from the mind but have an effect on the body, some causes come from the
body but have an effect on the mind, some causes come from the body and mind
acting together.
—Ajaan Lee (The Skill of Release)

§ 13. The Dhamma of attainment is something cool, clean, and clear. It doesn’t
take birth, age, grow ill, or die. Whoever works earnestly at the Dhamma of
study and practice will give rise to the Dhamma of attainment without a doubt.
The Dhamma of attainment is paccattaª: You have to know it for yourself.
* * *
We should make a point of searching for whatever will give rise to
discernment. Sutamaya-paññ›: Listen to things that are worth listening to.
Cint›maya-paññ›: Once you’ve listened, evaluate what you’ve learned. Don’t
accept it or reject it right off hand. Bh›van›maya-paññ›: Once you’ve put what
you’ve learned to the test, practice in line with it. This is the highest perfection of
discernment—liberating insight. You know what kinds of stress and pain should
be remedied and so you remedy them. You know what kinds shouldn’t be
remedied and so you don’t.
For the most part we’re really ignorant. We try to remedy the things that
shouldn’t be remedied, and it just doesn’t work—because there’s one kind of
stress that should simply be observed and shouldn’t be fiddled with at all. Like a
rusty watch: Don’t polish away any more rust than you should. If you go taking
it apart, the whole thing will stop running for good. What this means is that once
you’ve seen natural conditions for what they truly are, you have to let them be.
If you see something that should be fixed, you fix it. Whatever shouldn’t be
fixed, you don’t. This takes a load off the heart.
Ignorant people are like the old woman who lit a fire to cook her rice and,
when her rice was cooked, had her meal. When she had finished her meal, she
sat back and had a cigar. It so happened that when she lit her cigar with one of
the embers of the fire, it burned her mouth. ‘Damned fire,’ she thought. ‘It
burned my mouth.’ So she put all her matches in a pile and poured water all over
them so that there wouldn’t be any more fire in the house—just like a fool with
no sense at all. The next day, when she wanted fire to cook her meal, there
wasn’t any left. At night, when she wanted light, she had to go pestering her
neighbors, asking this person and that, and yet still she hated fire. We have to
learn how to make use of things and to have a sense of how much is enough. If
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you light only a little fire, it’ll be three hours before your rice is cooked. The fire
isn’t enough for your food. So it is with us: We see stress as something bad and
so try to remedy it—keeping at it with our eyes closed, as if we were blind. No
matter how much we treat it, we never get anywhere at all.
People with discernment will see that stress is of two kinds: (1) physical stress,
or the inherent stress of natural conditions; and (2) mental stress, or the stress of
defilement. Once there’s birth, there has to be aging, illness, and death. Whoever
tries to remedy aging can keep at it till they’re withered and gray. When we try
to remedy illness, we’re usually like the old woman pouring water all over her
matches. Sometimes we treat things just right, sometimes we don’t—as when
the front step gets cracked, and we dismantle the house right up to the roof.
Illness is something that everyone has, in other words, the diseases that
appear in the various parts of the body. Once we’ve treated the disease in our
eyes, it’ll go appear in our ears, nose, in front, in back, in our arm, our hand, our
foot, etc., and then it’ll sneak inside. Like a person trying to catch hold of an eel:
The more you try to catch it, the more it slips off every which way. And so we
keep on treating our diseases till we die. Some kinds of disease will go away
whether we treat them or not. If it’s a disease that goes away with treatment,
then take medicine. If it’s one that goes away whether we treat it or not, why
bother? This is what it means to have discernment.
Ignorant people don’t know which kinds of stress should be treated and
which kinds shouldn’t, and so they put their time and money to waste. As for
intelligent people, they see what should be treated and they treat it using their
own discernment. All diseases arise either from an imbalance in the physical
elements or from kamma. If it’s a disease that arises from the physical elements,
we should treat it with food, medicine, etc. If it arises from kamma, we have to
treat it with the Buddha’s medicine. In other words, stress and pain that arise
from the heart, if we treat them with food and medicine, won’t respond. We
have to treat them with the Dhamma. Whoever knows how to manage this is
said to have a sense of how to observe and diagnose stress.
If we look at it in another way, we’ll see that aging, illness, and death are
simply the shadows of stress and not its true substance. People lacking
discernment will try to do away with the shadows, which leads only to more
suffering and stress. This is because they aren’t acquainted with what the
shadows and substance of stress come from. The essence of stress lies with the
mind. Aging, illness, and death are its shadows or effects that show by way of
the body. When we want to kill our enemy and so take a knife to stab his
shadow, how is he going to die? In the same way, ignorant people try to destroy
the shadows of stress and don’t get anywhere. As for the essence of stress in the
heart, they don’t think of remedying it at all. This ignorance of theirs is one form
of avijj›, or unawareness.
To look at it in still another way, both the shadows and the real thing come
from ta˚h›, craving. We’re like a person who has amassed a huge fortune and
then, when thieves come to break in, goes killing the thieves. He doesn’t see his
own wrong-doing and sees only the wrong-doing of others. Actually, once he’s
piled his house full in this way, thieves can’t help but break in. In the same way,
people suffer from stress and so they hate it, and yet they don’t make the effort
to straighten themselves out.
Stress comes from the three forms of craving, so we should kill off craving for
sensuality, craving for becoming, and craving for no becoming. These things are
fabricated in our own heart, and we have to know them with our own
mindfulness and discernment. Once we’ve contemplated them until we see, we’ll
know: ‘This sort of mental state is craving for sensuality; this sort is craving for
becoming; and this sort, craving for no becoming.’
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People with discernment will see that these things exist in the heart in subtle,
intermediate, and blatant stages, just as a person has three stages in a lifetime:
youth, middle age, and old age. ‘Youth’ is craving for sensuality. Once this thirst
arises in the heart, it wavers and moves—this is craving for becoming—and then
takes shape as craving for no further becoming—a sambhavesin with its neck
stretched out looking for its object, causing itself stress and pain. In other words,
we take a liking to various sights, sounds, smells, flavors, etc., and so fix on
them, which brings us stress. So we shouldn’t preoccupy ourselves with sights,
sounds, etc., that provoke greed, anger, or delusion (craving for sensuality),
causing the mind to waver and whisk out with concepts (this is craving for
becoming; when the mind sticks with its wavering, won’t stop repeating its
motions, that’s craving for no further becoming).
When we gain discernment, we should destroy these forms of craving with
anulomika-ñ›˚a, knowledge in accordance with the four Noble Truths, knowing
exactly how much ease and pleasure the mind has when cravings for sensuality,
becoming, and no becoming all disappear. This is called knowing the reality of
disbanding. As for the cause of stress and the path to the disbanding of stress,
we’ll know them as well.
Ignorant people will go ride in the shadow of a car—and they’ll end up with
their heads bashed in. People who don’t realize what the shadows of virtue are,
will end up riding only the shadows. Words and deeds are the shadows of virtue.
Actual virtue is in the heart. The heart at normalcy is the substance of virtue. The
substance of concentration is the mind firmly centered in a single preoccupation
without any interference from concepts or mental labels. The bodily side to
concentration—when our mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and tongue are quiet—is just
the shadow, as when the body sits still, its mouth closed and not speaking with
anyone, its nose not interested in any smells, its eyes closed and not interested in
any objects, etc. If the mind is firmly centered to the level of fixed penetration,
then whether we sit, stand, walk, or lie down, the mind doesn’t waver.
Once the mind is trained to the level of fixed penetration, discernment will
arise without our having to search for it, just like an imperial sword: When it’s
drawn for use, it’s sharp and flashing. When it’s no longer needed, it goes back in
the scabbard. This is why we are taught,
mano-pubbaºgam› dhamm›
mano-se˛˛h› mano-may›:
The mind is the most extraordinary thing there is. The mind is the source of
the Dhamma.
This is what it means to know stress, its cause, its disbanding, and the path to
its disbanding. This is the substance of virtue, concentration, and discernment.
Whoever can do this will reach release: nibb›na. Whoever can give rise to the
Dhamma of study and practice within themselves will meet with the Dhamma of
attainment without a doubt. This is why it’s said to be sandi˛˛hiko, visible in the
present; ak›liko, bearing fruit no matter what the time or season. Keep working
at it always.
—Ajaan Lee (Inner Strength)

§ 14. For the heart to go and do harm to other people, we first have to open the
way for it. In other words, we start out by doing harm to ourselves, and this
clears the way from inside the house for us to go out and do harm to people
outside.
The intention to do harm is a heavy form of self-harm. At the very least, it
uses up our time and destroys our opportunity to do good. We have to wipe it
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out with the intention not to do harm—or in other words, with concentration.
This is like seeing that there’s plenty of unused space in our property and that we
aren’t making enough for our living. We’ll have to leap out into the open field so
as to give ourselves the momentum for doing our full measure of goodness as
the opportunity arises.
* * *
Nekkhamma-saºkappo (thoughts of renunciation), i.e., being at ease in quiet,
solitary places. Aby›p›da-saºkappo (thoughts of non-anger): We don’t have to
think about our own bad points or the bad points of others. Avihiºs›-saºkappo
(thoughts of not doing harm), not creating trouble or doing harm to ourselves,
i.e., (1) not thinking about our own shortcomings, which would depress us; (2) if
we think about our own shortcomings, it’ll spread like wildfire to the
shortcomings of others. For this reason, wise people lift their thoughts to the
level of goodness so that they can feel love and good will for themselves, and so
that they can then feel love and good will for others as well.
When our mind has these three forms of energy, it’s like a table with three
legs that can spin in all directions. To put it another way, once our mind has spun
up to this high a level, we can take pictures of everything above and below us.
We’ll develop discernment like a bright light or like binoculars that can magnify
every detail. This is called ñ›˚a—intuitive awareness that can know everything in
the world: LokavidÒ.
The discernment here isn’t ordinary knowledge or insight. It’s a special
cognitive skill, the skill of the Noble Path. We’ll give rise to three eyes in the
heart, so as to see the reds and greens, the highs and lows of the mundane
world: a sport for those with wisdom. Our internal eyes will look at the Dhamma
in front and behind, above and below and all around us, so as to know all the ins
and outs of goodness and evil. This is discernment. We’ll be at our ease, feeling
pleasure with no pain interfering at all. This is called vijj›-cara˚a-sampanno—being
fully equipped with cognitive skill….
Whoever sees the world as having highs and lows doesn’t yet have true
intuitive discernment. Whoever has the eye of intuition will see that there are no
highs, no lows, no rich, no poor. Everything is equal in terms of the three
common characteristics: inconstant, stressful, and not-self. It’s like the equality of
democracy. Their home is the same as our home, with no differences at all.
People commit burglaries and robberies these days because they don’t see
equality. They think that this person is good, that person isn’t; this house is a
good place to eat, that house isn’t; this house is a good place to sleep, that house
isn’t, etc. It’s because they don’t have insight, the eye of discernment, that there’s
all this confusion and turmoil….
If we can get our practice on the Noble Path, we’ll enter nibb›na. Virtue will
disband, concentration will disband, discernment will disband. In other words,
we won’t dwell on our knowledge or discernment. If we’re intelligent enough to
know, we simply know, without taking intelligence as being an essential part of
ourselves. On the lower level, we’re not stuck on virtue, concentration, or
discernment. On a higher level, we’re not stuck on the stages of stream-entry,
once-returning, or non-returning. Nibb›na isn’t stuck on the world, the world
isn’t stuck on nibb›na. Only at this point can we use the term ‘arahant’.
This is where we can relax. They can say inconstant, but it’s just what they say.
They can say stress, but it’s just what they say. They can say not-self, but it’s just
what they say. Whatever they say, that’s the way it is. It’s true for them, and
they’re completely right—but completely wrong. As for us, only if we can get
ourselves beyond right and wrong will we be doing fine. Roads are built for
people to walk on, but dogs and cats can walk on them as well. Sane people and
10

crazy people will use the roads: They didn’t build the roads for crazy people, but
crazy people have every right to use them. As for the precepts, even fools and
idiots can observe them. The same with concentration: Crazy or sane, they can
come and sit. And discernment: We all have the right to come and talk our heads
off, but it’s simply a question of being right or wrong.
None of the valuables of the mundane world give any real pleasure. They’re
nothing but stress. They’re good as far as the world is concerned, but nibb›na
doesn’t have any need for them. Right views and wrong views are an affair of
the world. Nibb›na doesn’t have any right views or wrong views. For this
reason, whatever is a wrong view, we should abandon. Whatever is a right view,
we should develop—until the day it can fall from our grasp. That’s when we can
be at our ease.
—Ajaan Lee (Inner Strength)

Go o d Will

§ 15. “Devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful,


one keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with an awareness imbued with
good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus
above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, one keeps pervading the
all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will—abundant,
expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will, just as a strong
conch-trumpet blower—without any difficulty—can notify the four directions.”
— SN 42:8

§ 16. Think: Happy, at rest,


may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far,
born & seeking birth:
May all beings be happy at heart.
Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or resistance
wish for another to suffer. — Sn 1:8

§ 17. “‘May these beings—free from animosity, free from oppression, and free
from trouble—look after themselves with ease.’” — AN 10:176

§ 18. I have good will for footless beings,


good will for two-footed beings,
good will for four-footed beings,
good will for many-footed beings.
11

May footless beings do me no harm.


May two-footed beings do me no harm.
May four-footed beings do me no harm.
May many-footed beings do me no harm.
May all creatures,
all breathing things,
all beings
—each & every one—
meet with good fortune.
May none of them come to any evil.
Limitless is the Buddha,
limitless the Dhamma,
limitless the Sangha.
There is a limit to creeping things:
snakes, scorpions, centipedes,
spiders, lizards, & rats.
I have made this safeguard,
I have made this protection.
May the beings depart. — AN 4:67

§ 19. “For one whose release of awareness through good will is cultivated,
developed, pursued, handed the reins, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated,
and well-undertaken, eleven benefits can be expected. Which eleven?
“One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to
human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire,
poison, nor weapons can touch one. One’s mind gains concentration quickly.
One’s complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and—if penetrating no
higher—is headed for the Brahma worlds.” — AN 11:16

§ 20. Not consorting with fools,


consorting with the wise,
paying homage to those worthy of homage:
This is the highest protection. — Sn 2:4

§ 21. “And what is meant by admirable friendship? There is the case where a lay
person, in whatever town or village he may dwell, spends time with
householders or householders’ sons, young or old, who are advanced in virtue.
He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate
conviction in those who are consummate in conviction, consummate virtue in
those who are consummate in virtue, consummate generosity in those who are
consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those who are
consummate in discernment. This is called admirable friendship.” — AN 8:54

§ 22. “Once upon a time, a bamboo acrobat, having erected a bamboo pole,
addressed his assistant, Frying Pan: ‘Come, my dear Frying Pan. Climb up the
bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.’
12

“‘As you say, Master,’ Frying Pan answered the bamboo acrobat and,
climbing the bamboo pole, stood on his shoulders.
“So then the bamboo acrobat said to his assistant, ‘Now you watch after me,
my dear Frying Pan, and I’ll watch after you. Thus, protecting one another,
watching after one another, we’ll show off our skill, receive our reward, and
come down safely from the bamboo pole.’
“When he had said this, Frying Pan said to him, ‘But that won’t do at all,
Master. You watch after yourself, and I’ll watch after myself, and thus with each
of us protecting ourselves, watching after ourselves, we’ll show off our skill,
receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.’
“What Frying Pan, the assistant, said to her Master was the right way in that
case.
“The establishing of mindfulness is to be practiced with the thought, ‘I’ll
watch after myself.’ The establishing of mindfulness is to be practiced with the
thought, ‘I’ll watch after others.’ When watching after oneself, one watches after
others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself.
“And how does one, when watching after oneself, watch after others?
Through pursuing [the practice], through developing it, through devoting
oneself to it. This is how one, when watching after oneself, watches after others.
“And how does one, when watching after others, watch after oneself?
Through endurance, through harmlessness, and through a mind of kindness &
sympathy. This is how one, when watching after others, watches after oneself.
“The establishing of mindfulness is to be practiced with the thought, ‘I’ll
watch after myself.’ The establishing of mindfulness is to be practiced with the
thought, ‘I’ll watch after others.’ When watching after oneself, one watches after
others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself.” — SN 47:19

§ 23. Anger. When this defilement really gets strong, it has no sense of good or
evil, right or wrong, husband, wives, or children. It can drink human blood. An
example we often see is when people get quarreling and one of them ends up in
prison or even on death row, convicted for murder. This is even worse than
your house burning down, because you have nothing left at all. For this reason,
we have to get ourselves some life insurance by observing the five or eight
precepts so that we can treat and bandage our open sores—i.e., so that we can
wash away the evil and unwise things in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Even if
we can’t wash them all away, we should try at least to relieve them somewhat.
Although you may still have some fire left, let there just be enough to cook your
food or light your home. Don’t let there be so much that it burns your house
down.
The only way to put out these fires is to meditate and develop thoughts of good will.
The mind won’t feel any anger, hatred, or ill will, and instead will feel nothing
but thoughts of sympathy, seeing that everyone in the world aims at goodness,
but that our goodness isn’t equal. You have to use really careful discernment to
consider cause and effect, and then be forgiving, with the thought that we
human beings aren’t equal or identical in our goodness and evil. If everyone
were equal, the world would fall apart. If we were equally good or equally bad,
the world would have to fall apart for sure. Suppose that all the people in the
world were farmers, with no merchants or government officials. Or suppose
there were only government officials, with no farmers at all: We’d all starve to
death with our mouths gaping and dry. If everyone were equal and identical, the
end of the world would come in only a few days’ time. Consider your body:
Even the different parts of your own body aren’t equal. Some of your fingers are
short, some are long, some small, some large. If all ten of your fingers were
13

equal, you’d have a monster’s hands. So when even your own fingers aren’t
equal, how can you expect people to be equal in terms of their thoughts, words,
and deeds? You have to think this way and be forgiving….
When you can think in this way, your good will can spread to all people
everywhere, and you’ll feel sympathy for people on high levels, low levels and
in between. The big ball of fire inside you will go out through the power of your
good will and loving kindness.
This comes from getting life insurance: practicing tranquility meditation so as
to chase the defilements away from the mind. Thoughts of sensual desire, ill will,
lethargy, restlessness, and uncertainty will vanish, and the mind will be firmly
centered in concentration, using its powers of directed thought to stay with its
meditation word—buddho—and its powers of evaluation to create a sense of
inner lightness and ease. When the mind fills itself with rapture—the flavor
arising from concentration—it will have its own inner food and nourishment, so
that whatever you do in thought, word, or deed is sure to succeed.
—Ajaan Lee (Food for Thought)

I I . TR UTH

§ 24. “Let an observant person come—one who is not fraudulent, not deceitful,
one of a straightforward nature. I instruct him. I teach him the Dhamma.
Practicing as instructed, he in no long time knows for himself, sees for himself:
‘So this is how there is the right liberation from bondage, i.e., the bondage of
ignorance.’” — MN 80

§ 25. A characteristic of a “thoroughbred of a monk”: “Whatever tricks or deceits or


wiles or subterfuges he has, he shows them as they actually are to the Teacher or
to his knowledgeable companions in the holy life, so that the Teacher or his
knowledgeable companions in the holy life can try to straighten them out.” —
AN 8:13

§ 26. At that time Ven. Rahula was staying at the Mango Stone. Then the Blessed
One, arising from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to where Ven. Rahula
was staying at the Mango Stone. Ven. Rahula saw him coming from afar and, on
seeing him, set out a seat & water for washing the feet. The Blessed One sat
down on the seat set out and, having sat down, washed his feet. Ven. Rahula,
bowing down to the Blessed One, sat to one side.
Then the Blessed One, having left a little bit of the remaining water in the
water dipper, said to Ven. Rahula, “Rahula, do you see this little bit of remaining
water left in the water dipper?”
“Yes sir.”
“That’s how little of a contemplative there is in anyone who feels no shame at
telling a deliberate lie.”
Having tossed away the little bit of remaining water, the Blessed One said to
Ven. Rahula, “Rahula, do you see how this little bit of remaining water is tossed
away?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Rahula, whatever there is of a contemplative in anyone who feels no shame
at telling a deliberate lie is tossed away just like that.”
14

Having turned the water dipper upside down, the Blessed One said to Ven.
Rahula, “Rahula, do you see how this water dipper is turned upside down?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Rahula, whatever there is of a contemplative in anyone who feels no shame
at telling a deliberate lie is turned upside down just like that.”
Having turned the water dipper right-side up, the Blessed One said to Ven.
Rahula, “Rahula, do you see how empty & hollow this water dipper is?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Rahula, whatever there is of a contemplative in anyone who feels no shame
at telling a deliberate lie is empty & hollow just like that.
“Rahula, it’s like a royal elephant: immense, pedigreed, accustomed to
battles, its tusks like chariot poles. Having gone into battle, it uses its forefeet &
hindfeet, its forequarters & hindquarters, its head & ears & tusks & tail, but will
simply hold back its trunk. The elephant trainer notices that and thinks, ‘This
royal elephant has not given up its life to the king.’ But when the royal
elephant… having gone into battle, uses its forefeet & hindfeet, its forequarters &
hindquarters, its head & ears & tusks & tail & his trunk, the trainer notices that
and thinks, ‘This royal elephant has given up its life to the king. There is nothing
it will not do.’
“In the same way, Rahula, when anyone feels no shame in telling a deliberate
lie, there is no evil, I tell you, he will not do. Thus, Rahula, you should train
yourself, ‘I will not tell a deliberate lie even in jest.’” — MN 61

§ 27. So K›padika Bh›radv›ja said to the Blessed One, “Master Gotama, with
regard to the ancient hymns of the brahmans—passed down through oral
transmission & included in their canon—the brahmans have come to the definite
conclusion that “Only this is true; anything else is worthless.” What does Master
Gotama have to say to this?”
“Tell me, Bh›radv›ja, is there among the brahmans even one brahman who
says, ‘This I know; this I see; only this is true; anything else is worthless?’”
“No, Master Gotama.”
“And has there been among the brahmans even one teacher or teacher’s
teacher back through seven generations who said, ‘This I know; this I see; only
this is true; anything else is worthless?’”
“No, Master Gotama.”
“And among the brahman seers of the past, the creators of the hymns, the
composers of the hymns—those ancient hymns, sung, repeated, & collected,
which brahmans at present still sing, still chant, repeating what was said,
repeating what was spoken—i.e., A˛˛haka, V›maka, V›madeva, Vess›mitta,
Yamataggi, Aºgırasa, Bh›radv›ja, V›se˛˛ha, Kassapa & Bhagu: was there even
one of these who said, ‘This we know; this we see; only this is true; anything else
is worthless?’”
“No, Master Gotama.”
“So then, Bh›radv›ja, it seems that there isn’t among the brahmans even one
brahman who says, ‘This I know; this I see; only this is true; anything else is
worthless.’ And there hasn’t been among the brahmans even one teacher or
teacher’s teacher back through seven generations who said, ‘This I know; this I
see; only this is true; anything else is worthless.’ And there hasn’t been among
the brahman seers of the past, the creators of the hymns, the composers of the
hymns … even one who said, ‘This we know; this we see; only this is true;
anything else is worthless.’ Suppose there were a row of blind men, each holding
15

on to the one in front of him: the first one doesn’t see, the middle one doesn’t
see, the last one doesn’t see. In the same way, the statement of the brahmans
turns out to be a row of blind men, as it were: the first one doesn’t see, the
middle one doesn’t see, the last one doesn’t see. So what do you think,
Bh›radv›ja: this being the case, doesn’t the conviction of the brahmans turn out
to be groundless?”
“It’s not only out of conviction, Master Gotama, that the brahmans honor
this. They also honor it as unbroken tradition.”
“Bh›radv›ja, first you went by conviction. Now you speak of unbroken
tradition. There are five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now.
Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an
agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out
in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction
and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and
yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked … truly
an unbroken tradition … well-reasoned … Some things are well-pondered and
yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are
genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn’t proper for a knowledgeable
person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, ‘Only this is
true; anything else is worthless.”
“But to what extent, Master Gotama, is there the safeguarding of the truth?
To what extent does one safeguard the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the
safeguarding of the truth.”
“If a person has conviction, his statement, ‘This is my conviction,’ safeguards
the truth. But he doesn’t yet come to the definite conclusion that ‘Only this is
true; anything else is worthless.’ To this extent, Bh›radv›ja, there is the
safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this
as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.
“If a person likes something … holds an unbroken tradition … has something
reasoned through analogy … has something he agrees to, having pondered
views, his statement, ‘This is what I agree to, having pondered views,’
safeguards the truth. But he doesn’t yet come to the definite conclusion that
‘Only this is true; anything else is worthless.’ To this extent, Bh›radv›ja, there is
the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe
this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.”
“Yes, Master Gotama, to this extent there is the safeguarding of the truth. To
this extent one safeguards the truth. We regard this as the safeguarding of the
truth. But to what extent is there an awakening to the truth? To what extent does
one awaken to the truth? We ask Master Gotama about awakening to the truth.”
“There is the case, Bh›radv›ja, where a monk lives in dependence on a
certain village or town. Then a householder or householder’s son goes to him
and observes him with regard to three mental qualities—qualities based on
greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion: ‘Are there in this
venerable one any such qualities based on greed that, with his mind overcome
by these qualities, he might say, “I know,” while not knowing, or say, “I see,”
while not seeing; or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for
his/her long-term harm & pain?’ As he observes him, he comes to know, ‘There
are in this venerable one no such qualities based on greed …. His bodily
behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not greedy. And the Dhamma he
teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope
of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. This Dhamma can’t easily be
taught by a person who’s greedy.
“When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based
on greed, he next observes him with regard to qualities based on aversion …
16

based on delusion: ‘Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on
delusion that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, “I
know,” while not knowing, or say, “I see,” while not seeing; or that he might
urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?’ As he
observes him, he comes to know, ‘There are in this venerable one no such
qualities based on delusion …. His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those
of one not deluded. And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to
realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-
experienced by the wise. This Dhamma can’t easily be taught by a person who’s
deluded.
“When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based
on delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits
him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear. Lending ear, he
hears the Dhamma. Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it. Remembering it, he
penetrates the meaning of those dhammas. Penetrating the meaning, he comes
to an agreement through pondering those dhammas. There being an agreement
through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he
becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: “weighs,” “compares”).
Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the
ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with
discernment.
“To this extent, Bh›radv›ja, there is an awakening to the truth. To this extent
one awakens to the truth. I describe this as an awakening to the truth. But it is
not yet the final attainment of the truth.”
“Yes, Master Gotama, to this extent there is an awakening to the truth. To
this extent one awakens to the truth. We regard this as an awakening to the
truth. But to what extent is there the final attainment of the truth? To what extent
does one finally attain the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the final
attainment of the truth.”
“The cultivation, development, & pursuit of those very same qualities: to this
extent, Bh›radv›ja, there is the final attainment of the truth. To this extent one
finally attains the truth. I describe this as the final attainment of the truth.” — MN 95

§ 28. The Buddha saw that the ease and happiness of ordinary pleasures is nothing
lasting. He wanted an ease and happiness that didn’t follow the way of the worldly
pleasures that most people want. This was why he left his family and friends, and
went off to live in seclusion. He said to himself, ‘I came alone when I was born and
I’ll go alone when I die. No one hired me to be born and no one will hire me to
die, so I’m beholden to no one. There’s no one I have to fear. In all of my actions, if
there’s anything that is right from the standpoint of the world, but wrong from
the standpoint of the truth—and wrong from the standpoint of my heart—there’s
no way I’ll be willing to do it.’
So he posed himself a question: ‘Now that you’ve been born as a human
being, what is the highest thing you want in this world?’ He then placed the
following conditions on his answer: ‘In answering, you have to be really honest
and truthful with yourself. And once you’ve answered, you have to hold to your
answer as an unalterable law on which you’ve affixed your seal, without ever
letting a second seal be affixed on top. So what do you want, and how do you
want it? You have to give an honest answer, understand? I won’t accept
anything false. And once you’ve answered, you have to keep to your answer.
Don’t be a traitor to yourself.’
17

When he was sure of his answer, he said to himself, ‘I want only the highest
and most certain happiness and ease: the happiness that won’t change into
anything else. Other than that, I don’t want anything else in the world.’
Once he had given this answer, he kept to it firmly. He didn’t allow anything
that would have caused the least bit of pain or distraction to his heart to get stuck
there as a stain on it. He kept making a persistent effort with all his might to
discover the truth, without retreat, until he finally awakened to that truth: the
reality of Liberation.
If we search for the truth like the Buddha—if we’re true in our intent and true
in what we do—there’s no way the truth can escape us. But if we aren’t true to
ourselves, we won’t find the true happiness the Buddha found. We tell ourselves
that we want to be happy but we go jumping into fires. We know what things
are poison, yet we go ahead and drink them anyway. This is called being a
traitor to yourself….
Every person alive wants happiness—even common animals struggle to find
happiness—but our actions for the most part aren’t in line with our intentions.
This is why we don’t get to realize the happiness we want, simply because
there’s no truth to us. For example, when people come to the monastery: If they
come to make offerings, observe the precepts, and sit in meditation for the sake
of praise or a good reputation, there’s no real merit to what they’re doing. They
don’t gain any real happiness from it, so they end up disappointed and
dissatisfied. Then they start saying that offerings, precepts, and meditation don’t
give any good results. Instead of reflecting on the fact that they weren’t right
and honest in doing these things, they say that there’s no real good to the
Buddha, Dhamma, and Saºgha, that the Buddha’s teachings are a lot of nonsense
and lies. But actually the Buddha’s teachings are an affair of the truth. If a person
isn’t true to the Buddha’s teachings, the Buddha’s teachings won’t be true to that
person—and that person won’t be able to know what the Buddha’s true teachings
are….
When we practice virtue, concentration, and discernment, it’s as if we were
taking the jewels and robes of royalty and the Noble Ones to dress up our heart
and make it beautiful. But if we aren’t true in our practice, it’s like taking robes
and jewels and giving them to a monkey. The monkey is bound to get them
dirty and tear them to shreds because it has no sense of beauty at all. Whoever
sees this kind of thing happening is sure to see right through it, that it’s a
monkey show. Even though the costumes are genuine, the monkey inside isn’t
genuine like the costumes. For instance, if you take a soldier’s cap and uniform
to dress it up as a soldier, it’s a soldier only as far as the cap and uniform, but the
monkey inside is still a monkey and not a soldier at all.
For this reason, the Buddha teaches us to be true in whatever we do—to be
true in being generous, true in being virtuous, true in developing concentration
and discernment. Don’t play around at these things. If you’re true, then these
activities are sure to bear you the fruits of your own truthfulness without a
doubt.
—Ajaan Lee (Food for Thought)

Vir tue
§ 29. “Now, there are these five gifts, five great gifts—original, long-standing,
traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning—that are
not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by
knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. Which five?
18

“There is the case where a noble disciple, abandoning the taking of life,
abstains from taking life. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom
from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In
giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from
oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom
from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the
first gift, the first great gift—original, long-standing, traditional, ancient,
unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning—that is not open to suspicion,
will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable
contemplatives & brahmans.
“Furthermore, abandoning taking what is not given (stealing), the noble
disciple abstains from taking what is not given. In doing so, he gives freedom
from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless
numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity,
freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in
limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from
oppression. This is the second gift, the second great gift .…
“Furthermore, abandoning illicit sex, the noble disciple abstains from illicit
sex. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity,
freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom
from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless
numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom
from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the third gift, the third
great gift ....
Furthermore, abandoning lying, the noble disciple abstains from lying. In doing
so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from
oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger,
freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of
beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from
animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the fourth gift, the fourth great
gift ....
“Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, the noble disciple abstains
from taking intoxicants. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom
from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In
giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from
oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom
from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the
fifth gift, the fifth great gift—original, long-standing, traditional, ancient,
unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning—that is not open to suspicion,
will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable
contemplatives & brahmans.” — AN 8:39

§ 30. “And how is one made pure in three ways by bodily action? There is the
case where a certain person, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from the
taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous,
merciful, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Abandoning the
taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He does
not take, in the manner of a thief, things in a village or a wilderness that belong
to others and have not been given by them. Abandoning sensual misconduct, he
abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those
who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters,
19

their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail
punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man. This is how
one is made pure in three ways by bodily action.
“And how is one made pure in four ways by verbal action? There is the case
where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech.
When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his
relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, ‘Come & tell,
good man, what you know’: If he doesn’t know, he says, ‘I don’t know.’ If he
does know, he says, ‘I know.’ If he hasn’t seen, he says, ‘I haven’t seen.’ If he has
seen, he says, ’I have seen.’ Thus he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own
sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false
speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is
firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. Abandoning divisive speech he abstains
from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break
those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not
tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling
those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves
concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord.
Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words
that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are
polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large. Abandoning idle chatter, he
abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in
accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya. He speaks words worth
treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal. This
is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.
“And how is one made pure in three ways by mental action? There is the case
where a certain person is not covetous. He does not covet the belongings of
others, thinking, ‘O, that what belongs to others would be mine!’ He bears no ill
will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart. [He thinks,] ‘May these beings
be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they
look after themselves with ease!’ He has right view and is not warped in the way
he sees things: ‘There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There
are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world.
There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are
contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim
this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.’
This is how one is made pure in three ways by mental action.” — AN 10:176

§ 31. “Monks, there are these five kinds of loss. Which five? Loss of relatives, loss
of wealth, loss through disease, loss in terms of virtue, loss in terms of views. It’s
not by reason of loss of relatives, loss of wealth, or loss through disease that
beings—with the break-up of the body, after death—reappear in the plane of
deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It’s by reason of loss in
terms of virtue and loss in terms of views that beings—with the break-up of the
body, after death—reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the
lower realms, in hell.” — AN 5:130
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§ 32. There are three levels of virtue—


1. He˛˛hima-sıla: normalcy of word and deed, which consists of three kinds
of bodily acts—not killing, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct; and
four kinds of speech—not lying, not speaking divisively, not saying anything
coarse or abusive, not speaking idly. If we class virtue on this level according to
the wording of the precepts and the groups of people who observe them, there
are four—the five precepts, the eight, the ten, and the 227 precepts. All of these
deal with aspects of behavior that should be abandoned, termed pah›na-kicca. At
the same time, the Buddha directed us to develop good manners and proper
conduct in the use of the four necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter, and
medicine—so that our conduct in terms of thought, word, and deed will be
orderly and becoming. This aspect is termed bh›van›-kicca, behavior we should
work at developing correctly.
Observance of these precepts or rules—dealing merely with words and
deeds—forms the lower or preliminary level of virtue, which is what makes us
into full-fledged human beings (manussa-sampatti).
2. Majjhima-sıla: the medium level of virtue, i.e., keeping watch over your
words and deeds so that they cause no harm; and, in addition, keeping watch
over your thoughts so as to keep your mental kamma upright in three ways—
a. Anabhijjh›-visamalobha: not coveting things that do not belong to you and
that lie beyond your scope or powers; not focusing your thoughts on such
things; not building what are called castles in the air. The Buddha taught us to
tend to the wealth we already have so that it can grow on its own. The wealth
we already have, if we use our intelligence and ingenuity, will draw more wealth
our way without our having to waste energy by being covetous or greedy. For
example, suppose we have a single banana tree: If we water it, give it fertilizer,
loosen the soil around its roots, and protect it from dangers, our single banana
tree will eventually give rise to an increase of other banana trees. In other words,
if we’re intelligent we can turn whatever wealth we have into a basis for a
livelihood. But if we lack intelligence—if our hearts simply want to get, without
wanting work—then even if we acquire a great deal of wealth, we won’t be able
to support ourselves. Thus, greed of this sort, in which we focus our desires
above and beyond our capacities, is classed as a wrong kind of mental action.
b. Aby›p›da: abandoning thoughts of ill will, hatred, and vengeance, and
developing thoughts of good will instead; thinking of the good aspects of the
people who have angered us. When people make us angry, it comes from the
fact that our dealings with them—in which we associate with and assist one
another—sometimes lead to disappointment. This gives rise to dislike and
irritation, which in turn cause us to brood, so that we develop hurt feelings that
grow into anger and thoughts of retaliation. Thus we should regard such people
from many angles, for ordinarily as human beings they should have some good
to them. If they don’t act well toward us, they may at least speak well to us. Or if
they don’t act or speak well to us, perhaps their thoughts may be well-meaning
to at least some extent. Thus, when you find your thoughts heading in the
direction of anger or dislike, you should sit down and think in two ways—
(1) Try to think of whatever ways that person has been good to you. When
these things come to mind, they’ll give rise to feelings of affection, love, and
good will. This is one way.
(2) Anger is something worthless, like the scum floating on the surface of a
lake. If we’re stupid, we won’t get to drink the clean water lying underneath; or
if we drink the scum, we may catch a disease. A person who is bad to you is like
someone sunk in filth. If you’re stupid enough to hate or be angry with such
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people, it’s as if you wanted to go sit in the filth with them. Is that what you
want? Think about this until any thoughts of ill will and anger disappear.
c. Samm›-ditthi: abandoning wrong views and mental darkness. If our minds
lack the proper training and education, we may come to think that we and all
other living beings are born simply as accidents of nature; that ‘father’ and
‘mother’ have no special meaning; that good and evil don’t exist. Such views
deviate from the truth. They can dissuade us from restraining the evil that lies
within us and from searching for and fostering the good. To believe that there’s
no good or evil, that death is annihilation, is Wrong View—a product of short-
sighted thinking and poor discernment, seeing things for what they aren’t. So we
should abandon such views and educate ourselves, searching for knowledge of
the Dhamma and associating with people wiser than we, so that they can show
us the bright path. We’ll then be able to reform our views and make them Right,
which is one form of mental uprightness.
Virtue on this level, when we can maintain it well, will qualify us to be
heavenly beings. The qualities of heavenly beings, which grow out of human
values, will turn us into human beings who are divine in our virtues, for to guard
our thoughts, words, and deeds means that we qualify for heaven in this
lifetime. This is one aspect of the merit developed by a person who observes the
middle level of virtue.
3. Uparima-sıla: higher virtue, where virtue merges with the Dhamma in the
area of mental activity. There are two sides to higher virtue—
a. PAHfiNA-KICCA: qualities to be abandoned, which are of five sorts—
(1) K›machanda: affection, desire, laxity, infatuation.
(2) By›p›da: ill will and hatred.
(3) Thına-middha: discouragement, drowsiness, sloth.
(4) Uddhacca-kukkucca: restlessness and anxiety.
(5) Vicikicch›: doubt, uncertainty, indecision.
DISCUSSION

(1) Ill will (by›p›da) lies at the essence of killing (p›˚›tip›ta), for it causes us to
destroy our own goodness and that of others—and when our mind can kill off
our own goodness, what’s to keep us from killing other people and animals as
well?
(2) Restlessness (uddhacca) lies at the essence of taking what isn’t given
(adinn›d›na). The mind wanders about, taking hold of other people’s affairs,
sometimes their good points, sometimes their bad. To fasten onto their good
points isn’t too serious, for it can give us at least some nourishment. As long as
we’re going to steal other people’s business and make it our own, we might as
well take their silver and gold. Their bad points, though, are like trash they’ve
thrown away—scraps and bones with nothing of any substance—and yet even
so we let the mind feed on them. When we know that other people are
possessive of their bad points and guard them well and yet we still take hold of
these things to think about, it should be classed as a form of taking what isn’t
given.
(3) Sensual desires (k›machanda) lie at the essence of sensual misconduct. The
mind feels an attraction for sensual objects—thoughts of past or future sights,
sounds, smells, tastes, or tactile sensations—or for sensual defilements—passion,
aversion, or delusion—to the point where we forget ourselves. Mental states
such as these can be said to overstep the bounds of propriety in sensual matters.
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(4) Doubt (vicikicch›) lies at the essence of lying. In other words, our minds
are unsure, with nothing reliable or true to them. We have no firm principles and
so drift along under the influence of all kinds of thoughts and preoccupations.
(5) Drowsiness (thına-middha) is intoxication—discouragement, dullness,
forgetfulness, with no mindfulness or restraint watching over the mind. This is
what it means to be drugged or drunk.
All of these unskillful qualities are things we should eliminate by training the
heart along the lines of:
b. BHAVANA-KICCA: qualities to be developed—
(1) Mindfulness (sati): Start out by directing your thoughts to an object, such
as your in-and-out breathing. Use mindfulness to steady the mind in its object
throughout both the in-breath and the out-. Vitakka, thinking in this way, is what
kills off sensual desires, in that the discipline of mindfulness keeps the mind from
slipping off into external objects.
(2) Vic›ra: Evaluate and be observant. Make yourself aware of whether or not
you’ve received a sense of comfort and relaxation from your in- and out-
breathing. If not, tend to the breath and adjust it in a variety of ways: e.g., in
long and out long, in long and out short, in short and out short, in short and out
long, in slow and out slow, in fast and out fast, in gently and out gently, in strong
and out strong, in throughout the body and out throughout the body. Adjust the
breath until it gives good results to both body and mind, and you’ll be able to kill
off feelings of ill will and hatred.
(3) Pıti: When you get good results—for instance, when the subtle breath
sensations in the body merge and flow together, permeating the entire sense of
the body—the breath is like an electric wire; the various parts of the body, such
as the bones, are like electricity poles; mindfulness and alertness are like a power
source; and awareness is thus bright and radiant. Both body and mind feel
satisfied and full. This is pıti, or rapture, which can kill off feelings of drowsiness.
(4) Sukha: Now that feelings of restlessness and anxiety have disappeared, a
sense of pleasure and ease arises for both body and mind. This pleasure is what
kills off restlessness.
(5) Ekaggat›: Doubts and uncertainty fade into the distance. The mind reaches
singleness of preoccupation in a state of normalcy and equilibrium. This
normalcy of mind, which is maintained through the power of the discipline of
mindfulness (sati-vinaya), forms the essence of virtue: firmness, steadiness,
stability. And the resulting flavor or nourishment of virtue is a solitary sense of
calm for the mind. When freedom of this sort arises within us, this is called the
development of sıl›nussati, the mindfulness of virtue. This is virtue that attains
excellence—leading to the paths, their fruitions, and nibb›na—and thus can be
called uparima-sıla, higher virtue.
To summarize, there are three levels of virtue: external, intermediate, and
internal. In ultimate terms, however, there are two—
1. Mundane virtue: virtue connected with the world, in which we maintain
the principles of ordinary human morality but are as yet unable to reach the
transcendent levels: stream entry, once-returning, non-returning, and
arahantship. We can’t yet cut the Fetters (saºyojana) that tie the heart to the
influences of all the worlds. This is thus called mundane virtue.
2. Transcendent virtue: virtue that’s constant and sure, going straight to the
heart, bathing the heart with its nourishment. This arises from the practice of
tranquility meditation and insight meditation. Tranquility meditation forms the
cause, and insight meditation the result: discovering the true nature of the
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properties, aggregates (khandhas), and senses; seeing clearly the four Noble
Truths, in proportion to our practice of the Path, and abandoning the first three
of the Fetters—
a. Sakk›ya-di˛˛hi (self-identity views): views that see the body or the
aggregates as in the self or as belonging to the self. Ordinarily, we may be
convinced that views of this sort are mistaken, yet we can’t really abandon them.
But when we clearly see that they’re wrong for sure, this is called Right View—
seeing things as they truly are—which can eliminate such wrong views as seeing
the body as belonging to the self, or the self as the five aggregates, or the five
aggregates as in the self.
b. Vicikicch›: doubt about what’s genuine and true, and what’s counterfeit and
false. The power of Right View allows us to see that the quality to which we
awaken exists at all times and that the true qualities enabling us to awaken also
exist and are made effective through the power of the practices we’re following.
Our knowledge is definite and true. Our doubts about the virtues of the Buddha,
Dhamma, and Saºgha are cleared up for good. This is called becoming a niyata-
puggala, a person who is certain and sure.
c. Sılabbata-par›m›sa: When the heart abandons this Fetter, it no longer
fondles theories concerning moral virtue; it’s no longer stuck merely on the level
of manners and activities. Good and evil are accomplished through the heart; activities
are something separate. Even though people who reach this level do good—taking
the precepts, making gifts and offerings, or meditating in line with the good
customs of the world—they’re not caught up on any of these things, because
their hearts have reached the nourishment of virtue. They aren’t stuck on the
particulars (byañjana), i.e., their activities; nor are they stuck on the purpose
(attha), i.e., the meaning or intent of their various good manners. Their hearts
dwell in the nourishment of virtue: tranquility, stability, normalcy of mind. Just
as a person who has felt the nourishment that comes from food permeating his
body isn’t stuck on either the food or its flavor—because he’s received the
benefits of the nourishment it provides—in the same way, the hearts of people
who have reached the essence of virtue are no longer stuck on activities or
manners, particulars or purposes, because they’ve tasted virtue’s nourishment.
This is thus classed as transcendent virtue, the first stage of nibb›na. Even though
such people may be destined for further rebirth, they’re special people, apart
from the ordinary. Anyone whose practice reaches this level can be counted as
fortunate, as having received dependable wealth, like ingots of gold. Just as gold
can be used as currency all over the world because it has special value for all
human beings—unlike paper currency, whose use is limited to specific
countries—in the same way, a heart that has truly attained virtue has a value in
this life that will remain constant in lives to come. Thus, a person who has
reached this level has received part of the Noble Wealth of those who practice
the religion.
—Ajaan Lee (The Path to Peace & Freedom)

Per sistence

§ 33. “And what is the faculty of persistence? There is the case where a monk, a
disciple of the noble ones, keeps his persistence aroused for abandoning
unskillful mental qualities and taking on skillful mental qualities. He is steadfast,
solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful mental qualities.
He generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent
for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet
24

arisen…for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have
arisen…for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet
arisen…(and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude,
development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This is called
the faculty of persistence.” — SN 48:10

§ 34. “And how is striving fruitful, how is exertion fruitful? There is the case
where a monk, when not loaded down, does not load himself down with pain,
nor does he reject pleasure that accords with the Dhamma, although he is not
infatuated with that pleasure. He discerns that “When I exert a [physical, verbal,
or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of
exertion there is dispassion (fading away). When I look on with equanimity at
that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is
dispassion.” So he exerts a mental fabrication against the [first] cause of stress...
and develops equanimity with regard to the [second] cause of stress .... Thus the
stress [coming from any cause of the first sort] is abolished ... & the stress
[coming from any cause of the second sort] is abolished.” — MN 101

§ 35. On that occasion Ven. So˚a was staying near R›jagaha in the Cool Wood.
Then, as Ven. So˚a was meditating in seclusion [after doing walking meditation
until the skin of his soles was split & bleeding], this train of thought arose in his
awareness: “Of the Blessed One’s disciples who have aroused their persistence, I
am one, but my mind is not released from fermentations through lack of
clinging/sustenance. Now, my family has enough wealth that it would be
possible to enjoy wealth & make merit. What if I were to disavow the training,
return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?”
Then the Blessed One, as soon as he perceived with his awareness the train of
thought in Ven. So˚a’s awareness disappeared from Vulture Peak Mountain—
just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm—
appeared in the Cool Wood right in front of Ven. So˚a, and sat down on a
prepared seat. Ven. So˚a, after bowing down to the Blessed One, sat to one side.
As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “Just now, as you were
meditating in seclusion, didn’t this train of thought appear to your awareness:
‘Of the Blessed One’s disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but
my mind is not released from fermentations….What if I were to disavow the
training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?’”
“Yes, lord.”
“Now what do you think, So˚a. Before, when you were a house-dweller,
were you skilled at playing the vina?”
“Yes, lord.”
“And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too taut, was
your vina in tune & playable?”
“No, lord.”
“And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too loose, was
your vina in tune & playable?”
“No, lord.”
“And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were neither too taut
nor too loose, but tuned [lit: ‘established’] to be right on pitch, was your vina in
tune & playable?”
“Yes, lord.”
“In the same way, So˚a, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness,
overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right
25

pitch for your persistence, attune the pitch of the (five) faculties (to that), and
there pick up your theme.”
“Yes, lord,” Ven. So˚a answered the Blessed One. Then, having given this
exhortation to Ven. So˚a, the Blessed One—as a strong man might extend his
flexed arm or flex his extended arm—disappeared from the Cool Wood and
appeared on Vulture Peak Mountain.
So after that, Ven. So˚a determined the right pitch for his persistence, attuned
the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there picked up his theme. Dwelling
alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached &
remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go
forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the
here & now. He knew: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There
is nothing further for the sake of this world.” And thus Ven. So˚a became
another one of the arahants. — AN 6:55

§ 36. Ven. M›taºgaputta:


It’s too cold,
too hot,
too late in the evening—
people who say this,
shirking their work:
the moment passes them by.
Whoever regards cold & heat
as no more than grass,
doing his manly duties,
won’t fall away
from ease.
With my chest
I push through wild grasses—
spear-grass,
ribbon-grass,
rushes—
cultivating a heart
bent on seclusion. — Thag III.5

I I I . R ELI NQUI SHMENT


§ 37. If, by forsaking
a limited ease,
he would see
an abundance of ease,
the enlightened man
would forsake
the limited ease
for the sake
of the abundant. — Dhp 290
26

§ 38. Ven. Suppiya:


I’ll make a trade:
aging for the Ageless,
burning for the Unbound:
the highest peace,
the unexcelled rest
from the yoke. — Thag I.32

Generosity
§ 39. “There are these four grounds for the bonds of fellowship. Which four?
Giving, kind words, beneficial help, consistency. These are the four grounds for
the bonds of fellowship.”
Giving, kind words, beneficial help,
& consistency in the face of events,
in line with what’s appropriate
in each case, each case.
These bonds of fellowship [function] in the world
like the linchpin in a moving cart.
Now, if these bonds of fellowship were lacking,
a mother would not receive
the honor & respect owed by her child,
nor would a father receive
what his child owes him.
But because the wise show regard
for these bonds of fellowship,
they achieve greatness
and are praised. — AN 4:32

§ 40. As he was sitting to one side, King Pasenadi Kosala said to the Blessed One:
“Where, lord, should a gift be given?”
“Wherever the mind feels confidence, great king.”
“But a gift given where, lord, bears great fruit?”
“This [question] is one thing, great king—‘Where should a gift be given?’—
while this—‘A gift given where bears great fruit?’—is something else entirely.
What is given to a virtuous person—rather than to an unvirtuous one—bears
great fruit.” — SN 3:24

§ 41. “A person of integrity gives a gift with a sense of conviction. A person of


integrity gives a gift attentively. A person of integrity gives a gift in season. A
person of integrity gives a gift with an empathetic heart. A person of integrity
gives a gift without adversely affecting himself or others.
“Having given a gift with a sense of conviction, he—wherever the result of
that gift ripens—is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And he is
well-built, handsome, extremely inspiring, endowed with a lotus-like
complexion.
“Having given a gift attentively, he—wherever the result of that gift ripens—
is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And his children, wives,
slaves, servants, and workers listen carefully to him, lend him their ears, and
serve him with understanding hearts.
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“Having given a gift in season, he—wherever the result of that gift ripens—is
rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And his goals are fulfilled in
season.
“Having given a gift with an empathetic heart, he—wherever the result of
that gift ripens—is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And his mind
inclines to the enjoyment of the five strings of lavish sensuality.
“Having given a gift without adversely affecting himself or others, he—
wherever the result of that gift ripens—is rich, with much wealth, with many
possessions. And not from anywhere does destruction come to his property—
whether from fire, from water, from kings, from thieves, or from hateful heirs.
“These five are a person of integrity’s gifts.” — AN 5:148

§ 42. “Having given [a gift], not seeking one’s own profit, not with a mind
attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for oneself, nor [with the
thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death,’
—nor with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’
—nor with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my
father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom
be discontinued,’
—nor with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be
right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off,’
—nor with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of
the past— A˛˛haka, V›maka, V›madeva, Vess›mitta, Yamataggi, Aºgırasa,
Bh›radv›ja, V›se˛˛ha, Kassapa & Bhagu—in the same way this will be my
distribution of gifts,’
—nor with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind
serene. Gratification & joy arise,’ [all of the above motivations lead to various
levels of heaven, but not to non-returning]
—but with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the
mind’—on the break-up of the body, after death, one reappears in the company
of Brahma’s Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status,
that sovereignty, one is a non-returner and does not come back to this world.
“This, S›riputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a
certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another
person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.” —
AN 7:49

§ 43. “And how is a donation endowed with six factors? There is the case where
there are the three factors of the donor, the three factors of the recipients.
“And which are the three factors of the donor? There is the case where the
donor, before giving, is glad; while giving, his/her mind is bright & clear; and
after giving is gratified. These are the three factors of the donor.
“And which are the three factors of the recipients? There is the case where the
recipients are free of passion or are practicing for the subduing of passion; free of
aversion or practicing for the subduing of aversion; and free of delusion or
practicing for the subduing of delusion. These are the three factors of the
recipients….
“Just as it is not easy to take the measure of the great ocean as ‘just this many
buckets of water, just this many hundreds of buckets of water, just this many
thousands of buckets of water, or just this many hundreds of thousands of
buckets of water.’ It is simply reckoned as a great mass of water, incalculable,
28

immeasurable. In the same way, it is not easy to take the measure of the merit of
a donation thus endowed with six factors as ‘just this much a bonanza of merit, a
bonanza of what is skillful—a nutriment of bliss, heavenly, resulting in bliss,
leading to heaven—that leads to what is desirable, pleasing, charming, beneficial,
pleasant.’ It is simply reckoned as a great mass of merit, incalculable,
immeasurable.” — AN 6:37

§ 44. “Without abandoning these five qualities, one is incapable of entering &
remaining in the first jh›na … second jh›na … the third jh›na … the fourth
jh›na; incapable of realizing the fruit of stream-entry … the fruit of once-
returning … the fruit of non-returning … arahantship. Which five? Stinginess as
to one’s monastery [lodgings] … one’s family [of supporters] … one’s gains …
one’s status, and stinginess as to the Dhamma.” — AN 5:256-257

§ 45. “One who is generous, a master of giving, is dear & charming to people at
large …. this is a fruit of generosity visible in the here & now.
“Furthermore, good people, people of integrity, admire one who is
generous, a master of giving …. this, too, is a fruit of generosity visible in the
here & now.
“Furthermore, the fine reputation of one who is generous, a master of
giving, is spread far & wide …. this, too, is a fruit of generosity visible in the here
& now.
“Furthermore, when one who is generous, a master of giving, approaches
any assembly of people—noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or
contemplatives—he/she does so confidently & without embarrassment …. this,
too, is a fruit of generosity visible in the here & now.
“Furthermore, at the break-up of the body, after death, one who is generous,
a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, the heavenly world …. this is
a fruit of generosity in the next life.”— AN 5:34

§ 46. Inner wealth, according to the texts, means seven things—conviction,


virtue, a sense of conscience, scrupulousness, breadth of learning, generosity,
and discernment—but to put it simply, inner wealth refers to the inner quality
we build within ourselves. Outer wealth—money and material goods—doesn’t
have any hard and fast owners. Today it may be ours, tomorrow someone else
may take it away. There are times when it belongs to us, and times when it
belongs to others. Even with things that are fixed in the ground, like farms or
orchards, you can’t keep them from changing hands.
So when you develop yourself so as to gain the discernment that sees how
worldly things are undependable and unsure, don’t let your property—your
worldly possessions—sit idle. The Buddha teaches us to plant crops on our land
so that we can benefit from it. If you don’t make use of your land, it’s sure to fall
into other people’s hands. In other words, when we stake out a claim to a piece
of property, we should plant it full of crops. Otherwise the government won’t
recognize our claim, and we’ll lose our rights to it. Even if we take the case to
court, we won’t have a chance to win. So once you see the weakness of an idle
claim, you should hurry up and plant crops on it so that the government will
recognize your claim and issue you a title to the land.
What this means is that we should make use of our material possessions by
being generous with them, using them in a way that develops the inner wealth
29

of generosity within us. This way they become the kind of wealth over which we
have full rights, and that will benefit us even into future lifetimes.
—Ajaan Lee (Food for Thought)

§ 47. One of the important reasons why the Buddha taught the Dhamma was to
teach us to let go, not to hold on to things. The more we really know the
Dhamma, the more we can let go. Those who know a little can let go of a little;
those who know a lot can let go of a lot.
As a first step we’re taught d›na—to be generous, to give donations—as a
strategy for getting us to learn how to let go. The next step is c›ga—renouncing
rights of possession—which is letting go at a higher level than d›na. And finally,
on a more refined level, we’re taught to relinquish all our upadhi, or the
acquisition-defilements in the mind. This is the level on which we examine and
explore until we can gain total release.
D›na means giving away material things. If we don’t give them away,
they’re hard to let go. For the most part, if we don’t give things away, we hold
rights over them and regard them as belonging to us. But if we give them away,
we no longer have any rights over them. Things we hold onto are dangerous. (1)
They can cause us harm. (2) They cause harm to people who steal them from us.
And (3) once those people have stolen them, then they claim rights over them.
The Buddha saw these dangers, which is why he taught us to be generous, to
learn how to give things away.
People who develop the habit of being generous reap many rewards. Their
act of generosity comes back to them both in the present and on into the future.
They have lots of friends. Other people trust them. Their hearts are light—they
aren’t weighed down with worries about looking after the things they’ve given
away. And these same results will keep coming in the future, just as when we
have a bucket of rice grains: if we plant them in a field, we’ll reap ten buckets of
rice in return. The same holds true with the goodness we develop in this lifetime.
It gives enormous returns. That’s how people of discernment understand it.
C›ga is the next step. D›na is something that even crazy people can do, but
c›ga is a type of giving that only wise people can do, because their sense of
personal possession has to end immediately in the act of giving. They see that all
material things are common property: things don’t really belong to us, they
don’t really belong to other people. If you see things as belonging to you, that’s
addiction to sensuality (k›masukhallik›nuyoga). If you see things as belonging to
others, that’s addiction to self-affliction (attakilamath›nuyoga). When we’re born,
we didn’t bring anything along with us when we came. When we die, we won’t
take anything along when we go. So what really belongs to us? Our sense of
possession has to fall away from the heart if our giving is to count as c›ga.
The third level of letting go is relinquishing what’s in the heart. Whether or
not we give things away, we let go of them in the heart every day. We let go of
the things we have. We let go of the things we don’t have. Just as a person has to
wash his mouth and hands every day after he eats if he wants to stay clean at all
times. What this means is that we’re not willing to let anything act as an enemy
to the heart by making us stingy or grasping. If we don’t do this, we’re the type
of person who doesn’t wash up after a meal. We’re not clean. We stay asleep
without ever waking up. But when we let go in this way, it’s called vir›ga-
dhamma, or dispassion. The lower levels of letting go are things we can do only
from time to time. Dispassion is something we can develop always.
—Ajaan Lee (Starting out Small)
30

R enunciatio n

§ 48. Then Ven. finanda, together with Tapussa the householder, went to the
Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he
was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Tapussa the householder, here, has
said to me, ‘Venerable finanda, sir, we are householders who indulge in
sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us—
indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in
sensuality—renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I’ve heard that in this
doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation,
grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this
doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of]
renunciation.’”
“So it is, finanda. So it is. Even I myself, before my self-awakening, when I
was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: ‘Renunciation is good. Seclusion is
good.’ But my heart didn’t leap up at renunciation, didn’t grow confident,
steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the
cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t
grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred
to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven’t pursued [that
theme]. I haven’t understood the reward of renunciation; I haven’t familiarized
myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t
grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.’
“Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of sensual
pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of
renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my
heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it
as peace.’
“So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued
that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself
with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm,
seeing it as peace. Then, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from
unskillful qualities, I entered & remained in the first jh›na: rapture & pleasure
born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.
“As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with
sensuality. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a
healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that
beset me was an affliction for me.” — AN 9:41

§ 49. “There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via
the eye—agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing;
sounds cognizable via the ear ... aromas cognizable via the nose ... flavors
cognizable via the tongue ... tactile sensations cognizable via the body—
agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. But these are
not sensuality. They are called strings of sensuality in the discipline of the noble
ones.
The passion for his intentions is a man’s sensuality,
not the beautiful sensual pleasures
found in the world.
The passion for his intentions is a man’s sensuality.
The beauties remain as they are in the world,
while the wise, in this regard,
31

subdue their desire. — AN 6:63

§ 50. “Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it has come to
be with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, &
greater drawbacks, still—if he has not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from
sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful
than that—he can be tempted by sensuality. But when he has clearly seen with
right discernment as it has come to be that sensuality is of much stress, much
despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart
from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more
peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality.” — MN 14

§ 51. On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near fi˘avı on a spread of
leaves by a cattle track in a siªsap› forest. Then Hatthaka of fi˘avı, out roaming
& rambling for exercise, saw the Blessed One sitting on a spread of leaves by the
cattle track in the siªsap› forest. On seeing him, he went to him and, on arrival,
having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the
Blessed One, “Lord, I hope the Blessed One has slept in ease.”
“Yes, young man. I have slept in ease. Of those in the world who sleep in
ease, I am one.”
“But cold, lord, is the winter night. The ‘Between-the-Eights’ [a period in
February] is a time of snowfall. Hard is the ground trampled by cattle hooves.
Thin is the spread of leaves. Sparse are the leaves in the trees. Thin are your
ochre robes. And cold blows the Veramba wind. Yet still the Blessed One says,
‘Yes, young man. I have slept in ease. Of those in the world who sleep in ease, I
am one.’”
“In that case, young man, I will question you in return. Answer as you see fit.
Now, what do you think: Suppose a householder or householder’s son has a
house with a gabled roof, plastered inside & out, draft-free, with close-fitting
door & windows shut against the wind. Inside he has a horse-hair couch spread
with a long-fleeced coverlet, a white wool coverlet, an embroidered coverlet, a
rug of kadali-deer hide, with a canopy above, & red cushions on either side. And
there a lamp would be burning, and his four wives, with their many charms,
would be attending to him. Would he sleep in ease, or not? Or how does this
strike you?”
“Yes, lord, he would sleep in ease. Of those in the world who sleep in ease, he
would be one.”
“But what do you think, young man. Might there arise in that householder or
householder’s son any bodily fevers or fevers of mind born of passion so that—
burned with those passion-born fevers—he would sleep miserably?”
“Yes, lord.”
“As for those passion-born fevers—burned with which the householder or
householder’s son would sleep miserably—that passion has been abandoned by
the Tath›gata, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the
conditions of existence, not destined for future arising. Therefore he sleeps in
ease.
[Similarly with aversion and delusion.]

“Always, always,
he sleeps in ease:
the br›hman totally unbound,
who doesn’t adhere
32

to sensual pleasures,
who’s without acquisitions
& cooled.
Having cut all ties
& subdued fear in the heart,
calmed,
he sleeps in ease,
having reached peace
of awareness.” — AN 3:35

§ 52. “There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, uses the robe
simply to counteract cold, to counteract heat, to counteract the touch of flies,
mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles; simply for the purpose of covering the parts of
the body that cause shame.
“Reflecting appropriately, he uses alms food, not playfully, nor for
intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification; but simply for the
survival & continuance of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of
the holy life, thinking, ‘Thus will I destroy old feelings [of hunger] and not create
new feelings [from overeating]. I will maintain myself, be blameless, & live in
comfort.’
“Reflecting appropriately, he uses lodging simply to counteract cold, to
counteract heat, to counteract the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, &
reptiles; simply for protection from the inclemencies of weather and for the
enjoyment of seclusion.
“Reflecting appropriately, he uses medicinal requisites that are used for
curing the sick simply to counteract any pains of illness that have arisen and for
maximum freedom from disease.” — MN 2

§ 53. “And how is striving fruitful, how is exertion fruitful? There is the case
where a monk … notices this: ‘When I live according to my pleasure, unskillful
mental qualities increase in me & skillful qualities decline. When I exert myself
with stress & pain, though, unskillful qualities decline in me & skillful qualities
increase. Why don’t I exert myself with stress & pain?’ So he exerts himself with
stress & pain, and while he is exerting himself with stress & pain, unskillful
qualities decline in him, & skillful qualities increase. Then at a later time he would
no longer exert himself with stress & pain. Why is that? Because he has attained
the goal for which he was exerting himself with stress & pain ....
“Suppose that a fletcher were to heat & warm an arrow shaft between two
flames, making it straight & pliable. Then at a later time he would no longer heat
& warm the shaft between two flames, making it straight & pliable. Why is that?
Because he has attained the goal for which he was heating & warming the shaft
.... In the same way, the monk...no longer exerts himself with stress & pain. Why
is that? Because he has attained the goal for which he was exerting himself with
stress & pain.” — MN 101

§ 54. Now at that time, Ven. Bhaddiya K›ligodha, on going to a forest, to the
foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, would repeatedly exclaim, “What bliss!
What bliss!” A large number of monks heard Ven. Bhaddiya K›ligodha, on
going to a forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, repeatedly
33

exclaim, “What bliss! What bliss!” and on hearing him, the thought occurred to
them, “There’s no doubt but that Ven. Bhaddiya K›ligodha doesn’t enjoy leading
the holy life, for when he was a householder he knew the bliss of kingship, so
that now, on recollecting that, he is repeatedly exclaiming, ‘What bliss! What
bliss!’” They went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to
him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they told him: “Ven. Bhaddiya
K›ligodha, lord, on going to a forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty
dwelling, repeatedly exclaims, ‘What bliss! What bliss!’ There’s no doubt but that
Ven. Bhaddiya K›ligodha doesn’t enjoy leading the holy life, for when he was a
householder he knew the bliss of kingship, so that now, on recollecting that, he is
repeatedly exclaiming, ‘What bliss! What bliss!’”
Then the Blessed One told a certain monk, “Come, monk. In my name, call
Bhaddiya, saying, ‘The Teacher calls you, my friend.’”
“As you say, lord,” the monk answered and, having gone to Ven. Bhaddiya,
on arrival he said, “The Teacher calls you, my friend.”
“As you say, my friend,” Ven. Bhaddiya replied. Then he went to the Blessed
One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was
sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “Is it true, Bhaddiya that, on going to a
forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, you repeatedly exclaim,
‘What bliss! What bliss!’?”
“Yes, lord.”
“What meaning do you have in mind that you repeatedly exclaim, ‘What
bliss! What bliss!’?”
“Before, when I has a householder, maintaining the bliss of kingship, I had
guards posted within and without the royal apartments, within and without the
city, within and without the countryside. But even though I was thus guarded,
thus protected, I dwelled in fear—agitated, distrustful, and afraid. But now, on
going alone to a forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, I dwell
without fear, unagitated, confident, and unafraid—unconcerned, unruffled, my
wants satisfied, with my mind like a wild deer. This is the meaning I have in
mind that I repeatedly exclaim, ‘What bliss! What bliss!’”— Ud 2:10

I V. C ALM

§ 55. How inconstant are fabricated things!


Their nature: to arise & pass away.
They disband as they are arising.
Their total stilling is bliss. — DN 16

§ 56. “This is peace, this is exquisite—the resolution of all fabrications; the


relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation;
Unbinding.” — AN 9:36

Endur ance

§ 57. Patient endurance:


the foremost austerity. — Dhp 184

§ 58. I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near
R›jagaha at the Maddakucchi Deer Reserve. Now at that time his foot had been
34

pierced by a stone sliver. Excruciating were the bodily feelings that developed
within him—painful, fierce, sharp, wracking, repellent, disagreeable—but he
endured them mindful, alert, & unperturbed. Having had his outer robe folded
in four and laid out, he lay down on his right side in the lion’s posture—with one
foot placed on top of the other—mindful & alert.
Then Mara the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his
presence:
“Are you lying there in a stupor,
or drunk on poetry?
Are your goals so very few?
All alone in a secluded lodging,
what is this dreamer, this sleepy-face?”
The Buddha:
“I lie here,
not in a stupor,
nor drunk on poetry.
My goal attained,
I am sorrow-free.
All alone in a secluded lodging,
I lie down with sympathy
for all beings.
Even those pierced in the chest
with an arrow,
their hearts rapidly,
rapidly
beating:
even they with their arrows
are able to sleep.
So why shouldn’t I,
with my arrow removed?
I’m not awake with worry,
nor afraid to sleep.
Days & nights
don’t oppress me.
I see no threat of decline
in any world at all.
That’s why I sleep
with sympathy
for all beings.”

Then Mara the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows
me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there. — SN 4:13

§ 59. Ven. Yasoja


His limbs knotted
like a k›l› plant,
his body lean
& lined with veins,
knowing moderation
in food & drink:
35

the man of undaunted heart.


Touched by gnats
& horseflies
in the wilds,
the great wood,
like an elephant
at the head of a battle:
he, mindful,
should stay there,
endure. — Thag 3:8

§ 60. Ven. Vakkali:


Stricken by sharp, wind-like pains,
you, monk, living in the forest grove
—harsh, with limited range for alms—
what, what will you do?
Suffusing my body
with abundant rapture & joy,
& enduring what’s harsh,
I’ll stay in the grove….
Reflecting on those who are resolute,
their persistence aroused,
constantly firm in their effort,
united in concord,
I’ll stay in the grove.
Recollecting the One Self-awakened,
self-tamed & centered,
untiring both day & night,
I’ll stay
in the grove. — Thag 5:8

§ 61. “Once, monks, in this same S›vatthı, there was a lady of a household
named Vedehik›. This good report about Lady Vedehik› had circulated: ‘Lady
Vedehik› is gentle. Lady Vedehik› is even-tempered. Lady Vedehik› is calm.’
Now, Lady Vedehik› had a slave named K›lı who was diligent, deft, & neat in
her work. The thought occurred to K›lı the slave: ‘This good report about my
Lady Vedehik› has circulated: “Lady Vedehik› is even-tempered. Lady Vedehik›
is gentle. Lady Vedehik› is calm.” Now, is anger present in my lady without
showing, or is it absent? Or is it just because I’m diligent, deft, & neat in my work
that the anger present in my lady doesn’t show? Why don’t I test her?’
“So K›lı the slave got up after daybreak. Then Lady Vedehik› said to her:
‘Hey, K›lı!’
“‘Yes, madam?’
“‘Why did you get up after daybreak?’
“‘No reason, madam.’
“‘No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up after daybreak?’ Angered
& displeased, she scowled.
Then the thought occurred to K›lı the slave: ‘Anger is present in my lady
without showing, and not absent. And it’s just because I’m diligent, deft, & neat
36

in my work that the anger present in my lady doesn’t show. Why don’t I test her
some more?’
“So K›lı the slave got up later in the day. Then Lady Vedehik› said to her:
‘Hey, K›lı!’
“‘Yes, madam?’
“‘Why did you get up later in the day?’
“‘No reason, madam.’
“‘No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up later in the day?’ Angered
& displeased, she grumbled.
Then the thought occurred to K›lı the slave: ‘Anger is present in my lady
without showing, and not absent. And it’s just because I’m diligent, deft, & neat
in my work that the anger present in my lady doesn’t show. Why don’t I test her
some more?’
“So K›lı the slave got up even later in the day. Then Lady Vedehik› said to
her: ‘Hey, K›lı!’
“‘Yes, madam?’
“‘Why did you get up even later in the day?’
“‘No reason, madam.’
“‘No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up even later in the day?’
Angered & displeased, she grabbed hold of a rolling pin and gave her a whack
over the head, cutting it open.
Then K›lı the slave, with blood streaming from her cut-open head, went and
denounced her mistress to the neighbors: ‘See, ladies, the gentle one’s
handiwork? See the even-tempered one’s handiwork? See the calm one’s
handiwork? How could she, angered & displeased with her only slave for getting
up after daybreak, grab hold of a rolling pin and give her a whack over the head,
cutting it open?’
After that this evil report about Lady Vedehik› circulated: ‘Lady Vedehik› is
vicious. Lady Vedehik› is foul-tempered. Lady Vedehik› is violent.’
“In the same way, monks, a monk may be ever so gentle, ever so even-
tempered, ever so calm, as long as he is not touched by disagreeable aspects of
speech. But it is only when disagreeable aspects of speech touch him that he can
truly be known as gentle, even-tempered, & calm. I don’t call a monk easy to
admonish if he is easy to admonish and makes himself easy to admonish only by
reason of robes, almsfood, lodging, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick.
Why is that? Because if he doesn’t get robes, almsfood, lodging, & medicinal
requisites for curing the sick, then he isn’t easy to admonish and doesn’t make
himself easy to admonish. But if a monk is easy to admonish and makes himself
easy to admonish purely out of esteem for the Dhamma, respect for the
Dhamma, reverence for the Dhamma, then I call him easy to admonish. Thus,
monks, you should train yourselves: ‘We will be easy to admonish and make
ourselves easy to admonish purely out of esteem for the Dhamma, respect for
the Dhamma, reverence for the Dhamma.’ That’s how you should train
yourselves.
“Monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address
you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or
unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address
you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is
true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh
way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They
may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you
should train yourselves: ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil
words. We will remain sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a mind of
good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an
37

awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep
pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will—
abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s
how you should train yourselves.
“Suppose that a man were to come along carrying a hoe & a basket, saying, ‘I
will make this great earth be without earth.’ He would dig here & there, scatter
soil here & there, spit here & there, urinate here & there, saying, ‘Be without
earth. Be without earth.’ Now, what do you think—would he make this great
earth be without earth?”
“No, lord. Why is that? Because this great earth is deep & enormous. It can’t
easily be made to be without earth. The man would reap only a share of
weariness & disappointment.”
“In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which
others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh,
beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others
may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you
with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way
or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial
way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any
event, you should train yourselves: ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will
say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a
mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an
awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep
pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to
the great earth—abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free
from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.
“Suppose that a man were to come along carrying lac, yellow orpiment,
indigo, or crimson, saying, ‘I will draw pictures in space, I will make pictures
appear.’ Now, what do you think—would he draw pictures in space & make
pictures appear?”
“No, lord. Why is that? Because space is formless & featureless. It’s not easy
to draw pictures there and to make them appear. The man would reap only a
share of weariness & disappointment.”
“In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which
others may address you…. In any event, you should train yourselves: ‘Our
minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain
sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner
hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and,
beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness
imbued with good will equal to space—abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free
from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.
“Suppose that a man were to come along carrying a burning grass torch and
saying, ‘With this burning grass torch I will heat up the river Ganges and make it
boil.’ Now, what do you think—would he, with that burning grass torch, heat
up the river Ganges and make it boil?”
“No, lord. Why is that? Because the river Ganges is deep & enormous. It’s not
easy to heat it up and make it boil with a burning grass torch. The man would
reap only a share of weariness & disappointment.”
“In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which
others may address you…. In any event, you should train yourselves: ‘Our
minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain
sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner
hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and,
beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness
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imbued with good will equal to the river Ganges—abundant, expansive,


immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train
yourselves.
“Suppose there were a catskin bag—beaten, well-beaten, beaten through &
through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling—and a man were to come along
carrying a stick or shard and saying, ‘With this stick or shard I will take this
catskin bag—beaten, well-beaten, beaten through & through, soft, silky, free of
rustling & crackling—and I will make it rustle & crackle.’ Now, what do you
think—would he, with that stick or shard, take that catskin bag—beaten, well-
beaten, beaten through & through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling—and
make it rustle & crackle?”
“No, lord. Why is that? Because the catskin bag is beaten, well-beaten, beaten
through & through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling. It’s not easy to make
it rustle & crackle with a stick or shard. The man would reap only a share of
weariness & disappointment.”
“In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which
others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh,
beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others
may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you
with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way
or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial
way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any
event, you should train yourselves: ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will
say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a
mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an
awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep
pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to a
catskin bag—abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from
ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.
“Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a
two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that
would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: ‘Our
minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain
sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep
pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and,
beginning with them, we will keep pervading the entire world with an
awareness imbued with good will—abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free
from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.
“Monks, if you attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw,
do you see any aspects of speech, slight or gross, that you could not endure?”
“No, lord.”
“Then attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw. That will
be for your long-term welfare & happiness.”
That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the
Blessed One’s words. — MN 21

§ 62. “There is the case where the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being
accused of an offense by the monks, denies the offense, [saying,] ‘I don’t
remember. I don’t remember.’ He, I tell you, is just like the unruly horse who—
when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by the charioteer—backs up and pushes
the chariot back with its hindquarters. Some unruly men are like this. This is the
first fault in a man.
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“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of an
offense by the monks, attacks the accuser: ‘What use is there in your speaking,
you inexperienced fool? Think of yourself as worthy to be spoken to.’ He, I tell
you, is just like the unruly horse who—when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by
the charioteer—jumps back and hits the carriage railing, breaking the triple bar.
Some unruly men are like this. This is the second fault in a man.
“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of
an offense by the monks, accuses the accuser in return: ‘You, too, have
committed an offense of this name. You make amends for it first.’ He, I tell you,
is just like the unruly horse who—when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by the
charioteer—kicks the chariot pole and stomps on it. Some unruly men are like
this. This is the third fault in a man.
“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of an
offense by the monks, wanders from one thing to another, straying outside the
topic, displaying anger, irritation, & sulkiness. He, I tell you, is just like the unruly
horse who—when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by the charioteer—goes off
the road and makes the chariot turn over. Some unruly men are like this. This is
the fourth fault in a man.
“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of an
offense by the monks, speaks waving his arms around in the midst of the
Sangha. He, I tell you, is just like the unruly horse who—when goaded, ordered,
and told ‘Go!‘ by the charioteer—rears up and paws the air. Some unruly men
are like this. This is the fifth fault in a man.
“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of an
offense by the monks, not heeding the Sangha, not heeding his accuser, goes off
where he will, still an offender. He, I tell you, is just like the unruly horse who—
when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by the charioteer—not heeding the goad,
bites through the bit with its teeth and goes where it will. Some unruly men are
like this. This is the sixth fault in a man.
“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of an
offense by the monks, [after saying,] ‘I’ve neither committed an offense, nor
have I committed an offense,’ vexes the Sangha by falling silent. He, I tell you, is
just like the unruly horse who—when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by the
charioteer—goes neither forward nor back, but stands right there like a post.
Some unruly men are like this. This is the seventh fault in a man.
“Then again, the monks accuse a monk of an offense. He, being accused of an
offense by the monks, says this: ‘Why do you venerable ones persecute me so
much? I’ll disavow the training and return to the lower life.’ On having
disavowed the training and returned to the lower life he says, ‘I hope you
venerable ones are gratified now!’ He, I tell you, is just like the unruly horse
who—when goaded, ordered, and told ‘Go!‘ by the charioteer—draws in its
forefeet, draws in its hind feet, and sits down right there on its four feet. Some
unruly men are like this. This is the eighth fault in a man.
“These, monks, are the eight unruly men and eight faults in men.” — AN 8:14

§ 63. “Now, a king’s elephant endowed with five qualities is worthy of a king, is
a king’s asset, counts as a very limb of his king. Which five? There is the case
where a king’s elephant is resilient to sights, resilient to sounds, resilient to
aromas, resilient to flavors, resilient to tactile sensations.
“And how is a king’s elephant resilient to sights? There is the case where a
king’s elephant, having gone into battle, sees a troop of elephants, a troop of
cavalry, a troop of chariots, a troop of foot soldiers, but he doesn’t falter or faint,
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he steels himself and engages in the battle. This is how a king’s elephant is
resilient to sights.
“And how is a king’s elephant resilient to sounds? There is the case where a
king’s elephant, having gone into battle, hears the sound of elephants, the sound
of cavalry, the sound of chariots, the sound of foot soldiers, the resounding din
of drums, cymbals, conchs, & tom-toms, but he doesn’t falter or faint, he steels
himself and engages in the battle. This is how a king’s elephant is resilient to
sounds.
“And how is a king’s elephant resilient to aromas? There is the case where a
king’s elephant, having gone into battle, smells the stench of the urine & feces of
those pedigreed royal elephants who are at home in the battlefield, but he
doesn’t falter or faint, he steels himself and engages in the battle. This is how a
king’s elephant is resilient to aromas.
“And how is a king’s elephant resilient to flavors? There is the case where a
king’s elephant, having gone into battle, goes without his ration of grass & water
for one day, two days, three days, four days, five, but he doesn’t falter or faint,
he steels himself and engages in the battle. This is how a king’s elephant is
resilient to flavors.
“And how is a king’s elephant resilient to tactile sensations? There is the case
where a king’s elephant, having gone into battle, is pierced by a flight of arrows,
two flights, three flights, four flights, five flights of arrows, but he doesn’t falter
or faint, he steels himself and engages in the battle. This is how a king’s elephant
is resilient to tactile sensations.
“Endowed with these five qualities, monks, a king’s elephant is worthy of a
king, is a king’s asset, counts as a very limb of his king.
“In the same way, a monk endowed with five qualities is deserving of gifts,
deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an
unexcelled field of merit for the world. Which five? There is the case where a
monk is resilient to sights, resilient to sounds, resilient to aromas, resilient to
flavors, resilient to tactile sensations.
“And how is a monk resilient to sights? There is the case where a monk, on
seeing a sight with the eye, feels no passion for a sight that incites passion and
can center his mind. This is how a monk is resilient to sights.
“And how is a monk resilient to sounds? There is the case where a monk, on
hearing a sound with the ear, feels no passion for a sound that incites passion
and can center his mind. This is how a monk is resilient to sounds.
“And how is a monk resilient to aromas? There is the case where a monk, on
smelling an aroma with the nose, feels no passion for an aroma that incites
passion and can center his mind. This is how a monk is resilient to aromas.
“And how is a monk resilient to flavors? There is the case where a monk, on
tasting a flavor with the tongue, feels no passion for a flavor that incites passion
and can center his mind. This is how a monk is resilient to flavors.
“And how is a monk resilient to tactile sensations? There is the case where a
monk, on touching a tactile sensation with the body, feels no passion for a tactile
sensation that incites passion and can center his mind. This is how a monk is
resilient to tactile sensations.
“Endowed with these five qualities, a monk is deserving of gifts, deserving of
hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an unexcelled field of
merit for the world.” — AN 5:139

§ 64. “Monks, there are these five types of warriors who can be found existing in
the world. Which five?
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“There is the case of a warrior who, on seeing a cloud of dust [stirred up by


the enemy army], falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle.
Some warriors are like this. This is the first type of warrior who can be found
existing in the world.
“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, but on seeing
the top of the enemy’s banner, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t
engage in the battle. Some warriors are like this. This is the second type of
warrior who can be found existing in the world.
“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust & the top of the
enemy’s banner, but on hearing the tumult [of the approaching forces], he
falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle. Some warriors are
like this. This is the third type of warrior who can be found existing in the world.
“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the
enemy’s banner, & the tumult, but when in hand-to-hand combat he is struck
and falls wounded. Some warriors are like this. This is the fourth type of warrior
who can be found existing in the world.
“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the
enemy’s banner, the tumult, & the hand-to-hand combat. On winning the battle,
victorious in battle, he comes out at the very head of the battle. Some warriors
are like this. This is the fifth type of warrior who can be found existing in the
world.
“These are the five types of warriors who can be found existing in the world.
“In the same way, monks, there are these five warrior-like individuals who
can be found existing among the monks. Which five?
[1] “There is the case of the monk who, on seeing a cloud of dust, falters,
faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness
in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. What is the
cloud of dust for him? There is the case of the monk who hears, ‘In that village or
town over there is a woman or girl who is shapely, good-looking, charming,
endowed with the foremost lotus-like complexion.’ On hearing this, he falters,
faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness
in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. That, for him,
is the cloud of dust. This individual, I tell you, is like the warrior who, on seeing a
cloud of dust, falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle. Some
individuals are like this. This is the first type of warrior-like individual who can
be found existing among the monks.
[2] “Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust, but
on seeing the top of the enemy’s banner, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself,
can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves
the training and returns to the lower life. What is the top of the banner for him?
There is the case of the monk who not only hears that ‘In that village or town
over there is a woman or girl who is shapely, good-looking, charming, endowed
with the foremost lotus-like complexion.’ He sees for himself that in that village
or town over there is a woman or girl who is shapely, good-looking, charming,
endowed with the foremost lotus-like complexion. On seeing her, he falters,
faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness
in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. That, for him,
is the top of the banner. This individual, I tell you, is like the warrior who can
handle the cloud of dust, but on seeing the top of the enemy’s banner, he falters,
faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle. Some individuals are like
this. This is the second type of warrior-like individual who can be found existing
among the monks.
[3] “Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust &
the top of the enemy’s banner, but on hearing the tumult [of the approaching
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forces], he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life.
Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the
lower life. What is the tumult for him? There is the case of the monk who has
gone to the wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty building. A woman
approaches him and giggles at him, calls out to him, laughs aloud, & teases him.
On being giggled at, called out to, laughed at, & teased by the woman, he falters,
faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness
in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. That, for him,
is the tumult. This individual, I tell you, is like the warrior who can handle the
cloud of dust & the top of the enemy’s banner, but on hearing the tumult he
falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle. Some individuals
are like this. This is the third type of warrior-like individual who can be found
existing among the monks.
[4] “Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust, the
top of the enemy’s banner, & the tumult, but when in hand-to-hand combat he is
struck and falls wounded. What is the hand-to-hand combat for him? There is the
case of the monk who has gone to the wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an
empty building. A woman approaches him and sits down right next to him, lies
down right next to him, throws herself all over him. When she sits down right
next to him, lies down right next to him, and throws herself all over him, he—
without renouncing the training, without declaring his weakness—engages in
sexual intercourse. This, for him, is hand-to-hand combat. This individual, I tell
you, is like the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the enemy’s
banner, & the tumult, but when in hand-to-hand combat he is struck and falls
wounded. Some individuals are like this. This is the fourth type of warrior-like
individual who can be found existing among the monks.
[5] “Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust, the
top of the enemy’s banner, the tumult, & hand-to-hand combat. On winning the
battle, victorious in battle, he comes out at the very head of the battle. What is
victory in the battle for him? There is the case of the monk who has gone to the
wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling. A woman approaches
him and sits down right next to him, lies down right next to him, throws herself
all over him. When she sits down right next to him, lies down right next to him,
and throws herself all over him, he extricates himself, frees himself, and goes off
where he will.
“He resorts to a secluded dwelling place: the wilderness, the foot of a tree, a
mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a forest grove, the open air, a
haystack. Having gone to the wilderness, the foot of a tree, or an empty
building, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings
mindfulness to the fore.
“Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an
awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness.
Abandoning ill will & anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will,
sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will &
anger. Abandoning sloth & drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of
sloth & drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of
sloth & drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness & anxiety, he dwells undisturbed,
his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness & anxiety.
Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no
perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of
uncertainty.
“Having abandoned these five hindrances, corruptions of awareness that
weaken discernment, then—quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn
from unskillful (mental) qualities—he enters & remains in the first jh›na: rapture
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& pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought &


evaluation. With the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters &
remains in the second jh›na: rapture & pleasure born of concentration,
unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal
assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & fully
aware, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third
jh›na, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a
pleasurable abiding.’ With the abandoning of pleasure & pain—as with the
earlier disappearance of elation & distress—he enters & remains in the fourth
jh›na: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.
“With his mind thus concentrated, purified, & bright, unblemished, free from
defects, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, he directs and
inclines it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. He
discerns, as it has come to be, that ‘This is stress ... This is the origination of stress
... This is the cessation of stress ... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress
... These are mental fermentations ... This is the origination of fermentations ...
This is the cessation of fermentations ... This is the way leading to the cessation of
fermentations.’ His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the
fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of
ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that
‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for
this world.’
“This, for him, is victory in the battle. This individual, I tell you, is like the
warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the enemy’s banner, the
tumult, & hand-to-hand combat. On winning the battle, victorious in battle, he
comes out at the very head of the battle. Some individuals are like this. This is the
fifth type of warrior-like individual who can be found existing among the
monks.
“These are the five warrior-like individuals who can be found existing among
the monks.” — AN 5:75

§ 65. “And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by tolerating? There is


the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, endures. He tolerates cold, heat,
hunger, & thirst; the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles; ill-spoken,
unwelcome words & bodily feelings that, when they arise, are painful, racking,
sharp, piercing, disagreeable, displeasing, & menacing to life. The fermentations,
vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to tolerate these things do not
arise for him when he tolerates them. These are called the fermentations to be
abandoned by tolerating.
“And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding? There is the
case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, avoids a wild elephant, a wild
horse, a wild bull, a wild dog, a snake, a stump, a bramble patch, a chasm, a cliff,
a cesspool, an open sewer. Reflecting appropriately, he avoids sitting in the sorts
of unsuitable seats, wandering to the sorts of unsuitable habitats, and associating
with the sorts of bad friends that would make his knowledgeable friends in the
holy life suspect him of evil conduct. The fermentations, vexation, or fever that
would arise if he were not to avoid these things do not arise for him when he
avoids them. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding.
“And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by destroying? There is the
case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, does not tolerate an arisen thought
of sensuality. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels it, & wipes it out of existence.
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“Reflecting appropriately, he does not tolerate an arisen thought of ill will…


“Reflecting appropriately, he does not tolerate an arisen thought of cruelty…
“Reflecting appropriately, he does not tolerate arisen evil, unskillful mental
qualities. He abandons them, destroys them, dispels them, & wipes them out of
existence. The fermentations, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to
destroy these things do not arise for him when he destroys them. These are
called the fermentations to be abandoned by destroying.” — MN 2

§ 66. The important factors for anyone practicing to gain release from all stress
and suffering are persistence and endurance, for every kind of goodness has to
have obstacles blocking the way, always ready to destroy it. Even when the
Buddha himself was putting his effort into the practice, the armies of Mara were
right on his heels, pestering him all the time, trying to keep him from attaining
his goal. Still, he never wavered, never got discouraged, never abandoned his
efforts. He took his perfection of truthfulness and used it to drive away the
forces of Mara until they were utterly defeated. He was willing to put his life on
the line in order to do battle with the forces of Mara, his heart solid, unflinching,
and brave. This was why he was eventually able to attain a glorious victory,
realizing the unexcelled right self-awakening, becoming our Buddha. This is an
important example that he as our “father” set for his descendants to see and to
take to heart.
So when we’re intent on training our minds to be good, there are bound to
be obstacles—the forces of Mara—just as in the case of the Buddha, but we
simply have to slash our way through them, using our powers of endurance and
the full extent of our abilities to fight them off. It’s only normal that when we
have something good, there are going to be other people who want what we’ve
got, in the same way that sweet fruit tends to have worms and insects trying to
eat it. A person walking along the road empty-handed doesn’t attract anyone’s
attention, but if we’re carrying something of value, there are sure to be others
who will want what we’ve got, and will even try to steal it from us. If we’re
carrying food in our hand, dogs or cats will try to snatch it. But if we don’t have
any food in our hand, they won’t pounce on us.
It’s the same way when we practice. When we do good, we have to contend
with obstacles if we want to succeed. We have to make our hearts hard and solid
like diamond or rock, which don’t burn when you try to set them on fire. Even
when they get smashed, the pieces maintain their hardness as diamond and rock.
The Buddha made his heart so hard and solid that when his body was cremated,
parts of it didn’t burn and still remain as relics for us to admire even today. This
was through the power of his purity and truthfulness.
So we should set our minds on purifying our bodies and minds until they
become so truly elemental that fire won’t burn them, just like the Buddha’s relics.
Even if we can’t get them to be that hard, at least we should make them like
tamarind seeds in their casing: even if insects bore through the casing and eat all
the flesh of the tamarind fruit, they can’t do anything to the seeds, which
maintain their hardness as always.
—Ajaan Lee (Starting out Small)

Equanim ity

§ 67. “Now what is worldly equanimity? There are these five strands of
sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye—agreeable, pleasing,
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charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing; sounds cognizable via the ear …
aromas cognizable via the nose … flavors cognizable via the tongue … tactile
sensations cognizable via the body—agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing,
fostering desire, enticing. Any equanimity arising in connection with these five
strands of sensuality is called worldly equanimity.
And what is unworldly equanimity? There is the case where, with the
abandoning of pleasure & pain—as with the earlier disappearance of elation &
distress—one enters & remains in the fourth jh›na: purity of equanimity &
mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called unworldly equanimity.
And what is an even more unworldly unworldly equanimity? Any
equanimity that arises in one free from mental fermentation while he/she is
reflecting on his/her mind that is released from greed, released from aversion,
released from delusion: this is called an even more unworldly unworldly
equanimity.” — SN 36:31

§ 68. “There is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity;


and there is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.
“And what is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on
multiplicity? There is equanimity with regard to forms, equanimity with regard
to sounds...smells...tastes...tactile sensations [& ideas: this word appears in one of
the recensions]. This is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on
multiplicity.
“And what is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness?
There is equanimity dependent on the sphere of the infinitude of space,
equanimity dependent on the sphere of the infinitude of
consciousness...dependent on the sphere of nothingness...dependent on the
sphere of neither perception nor non-perception. This is equanimity coming
from singleness, dependent on singleness.
“By depending & relying on equanimity coming from singleness, dependent
on singleness, abandon & transcend equanimity coming from multiplicity,
dependent on multiplicity. Such is its abandoning, such its transcending.
“By depending & relying on non-fashioning, abandon & transcend the
equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness. Such is its
abandoning, such its transcending.” — MN 137

§ 69. To purify the heart, we have to disentangle our attachments to self, to the
body, to mental phenomena, and to all the objects that come passing in through
the senses. Keep the mind intent on concentration. Keep it one at all times. Don’t
let it become two, three, four, five, etc., because once you’ve made the mind one,
it’s easy to make it zero. Simply cut off the little ‘head’ and pull the two ends
together. But if you let the mind become many, it’s a long, difficult job to make it
zero.
And another thing: If you put the zero after other numbers, they become ten,
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, hundreds, thousands, on to infinity. But if you put the
zero’s first, even if you have ten thousand of them, they don’t count. So it is with
the heart: Once we’ve turned it from one to zero and put the zero first, then
other people can praise or criticize us as they like but it won’t count. Good
doesn’t count, bad doesn’t count. This is something that can’t be written, can’t be
read, that we can understand only for ourselves.
—Ajaan Lee (Inner Strength)